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Tree Planting Game

Category: Chance & Uncertainty, Patterns, and Transformations
Suitable for Grade Level: Elementary and Secondary

The Math in this Problem:

In this Tree Planting game, two players will take turns planting their trees and then moving along a grid until one player cannot move onto a dot that has never been occupied before. In order to be successful in Tree Planting, students must be strategic with where they start planting, as well as plan calculated routes to avoid becoming the first player stuck.

What is Needed:

  • A piece of dotted paper, pen, and 3 tree planters for each team.

How to Play:

  1. Decide who goes first.
  2. The players take turns placing their planters.
  3. When all the planters are on the board; the first player moves a planter up/down/left/right and then draws a line where they went. No tree planter is allowed to visit a dot that has already been visited.

The loser is the player who cannot move a planter.


The following questions are for the two player game:

  • If both players play well, does the first or the second player win? (To find the answer, try playing the game with only 1 piece per team on a 4×4 playing area)
  • Does the first or second player win on a 3×3 board?