Multiplication Tic Tac Toe

Analytic presentation of all possible Tic-Tac-Toe games

I adapted this tic-tac-toe game from one I saw in a workshop claiming to be a multiplication tic-tac-toe game. It was similar to this multiplication tic-tac-toe game. It was fun enough, but it had no resemblance to a tic-tac-toe board.

I think my version has what it takes to be considered a “tiny math game.” All you really need to play this is paper, pencil, and two tokens (which could be two pieces of paper).

Embedded in the game is practice with multiplication facts, common multiples, and some good old fashion tic-tac-toe strategy, with a twist.


-Make a big Tic-Tac-Toe board, then make a tic-tac-toe board in each of the 9 squares.

-Now fill in the 9 squares with the multiples of 1-9 (see example below).

-Write the numbers 1-9 underneath your board.

-First player places two tokens (pennies in this case) each on one of the 9 numbers at the bottom. Multiplies these together, and places an “X” anywhere that multiple is found on the tic-tac-toe board. (in the example below player one has chosen 6 and 4, and has placed an X on all four “24s”)

-After the first move, players take turns choosing to move only one of the pennies to select their multiple to “X” or “O.” (For example 2nd player could move the “6” to a “3” and put an “O” over every 12 on the board)

-If you win a small tic-tac-toe game, you win that square on the larger board. The goal is to get Tic-Tac-Toe on the large board, by getting three of these smaller boards in a row.

-Also, I like to say any “Cat’s game” is a wildcard spot once it is completely filled in. This allows for player one and two to win simultaneously, which I like because I’m a sucker for win-win situations. 🙂

Notes For the Classroom:

I usually start by handing out this blank Multiplication Tic-Tac-Toe board. Students then take a few minutes to fill out the multiples of one in the top left corner, then multiples of 2 in the top middle, multiples of 3 in top right corner, etc (See example above).

First player places two tokens (pennies in this case) each on one of the 9 numbers. They multiply those two numbers together, and put an “X” anywhere that multiple is found on the tic-tac-toe board. In the example above, the first player has chosen to place the two tokens on 6 and 4, allowing her to place an “X” on the four places where “24.” I call these “quadruple plays,” and tell students to try to get as many of those as possible. Sometimes I have them color code the quadruple plays, and triple plays (like 36 or 9) so they are aware of them. This introduces and/or reenforces the concept of common multiples and factors. Check out my follow up post for more information on this.

1 Comment

Filed under Elementary, Games

One response to “Multiplication Tic Tac Toe

  1. Pingback: Multiplication Tic Tac Toe in 3 Acts | Webmaths

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