Fizz Buzz’s rules are super simple. A group of students sit in a circle and start counting up. Then we add the twists:
- If a number is divisible by 3, the student says “fizz” rather than the number.
- If a number is divisible by 5, they say “buzz” rather than the number.
- If a number is divisible by both, they say “fizz buzz”
And that’s really it for the rules of Fizz Buzz! It’s an easy-to-learn, but hard-to-master game – a perfect example of a low floor, high ceiling math activity.
A sample game of Fizz Buzz would start like this:
1, 2, fizz, 4, buzz, fizz, 7, 8, fizz, buzz, 11, fizz, 13, 14, fizz buzz, 16, and so on…
When a student says the wrong thing or takes too long (breaking the rhythm), they leave the circle. The remaining kids continue on. Eventually, there is one winner.
A Task That Scales
This is a beautiful example of an easily differentiated task because, rather than developing three separate activities for kids at different levels, you just adjust this one task.
- Group kids by ability and let them go as fast as they can handle.
- Too complicated? Alter the rules a bit. Start with just “fizz.”
- Too simple? Change it up. Make 7 “buzz” instead of 5. Add a third sound. Add a fourth sound! Use roots instead of divisibility. Change to a different number system. Switch to Spanish!
You could (with very slight adaptations) use this task with everyone from primary grade students through college math majors.
Get One Game A Week!
I'll send you instructions for one paper-and-pencil strategy game every week to use in your classroom (or with your own family)! Get A Game Each Week!