This is a great way for students to practice their fluency using numbers. It's the type of game that once students learn how to play it, you just have to say "Let's play number shiritori!" and students can get started by themselves.

Basic Info

Time: 5 mins
Level: Elementary 5th/6th grade
Works with: Numbers (11~99)
Class size: Medium+

You will need:

  • nothing


If you know what shiritori is, it'll be easier to understand the concept of this game. Japanese students know shiritori so with a quick demo and illustration on the board, they should understand how to play pretty quickly.

  1. Two teams make a single line. The middle of the line is where they meet and challenge each other.
  2. The first student (S1) from Team 1 says any number from 11 to 99 (eg. 41) then goes to the back of her team's line. (See rules below.)
  3. The first student from Team 2 takes the last digit from S1's number and his 2 digit number must start with that digit (eg. 19).
  4. When a student makes a mistake, they sit down. The game ends when time runs out or all students from a team are out.

An example of numbers you might hear:  41  -  19  -  93  -  34  -  45  -  51  -  11  -  18  -  85...

Rules: Use any number 11 to 99 but multiples of 10 are out. If you can't answer within 5 seconds you are out (opposite team counts).


  • If you have a large class and can't moderate every team, demonstrate with one team in front of class before everyone tries.


  • Students may want to count fast (when counting out 5 seconds). Show them fast counting is not allowed.


I'm a huge fan of these types of repeatable games because I love reviewing previously studied content, especially as I work through the Hi, friends! textbooks. Numbers are something students always seem to forget so fun, quick games and frequent review are the way to build fluency in this area.

Liked it? Please share!
# Brenda 2017-09-15 12:54
I played this as a warm up with the first grade in a few early in the year junior high classes, when they're reviewing numbers, and it still works great at that level too. Building fluency, more than anything else.

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