Prime Climb is so mathematical that great questions are easy to create from the game. Teachers have used Prime Climb in the classroom with great success, especially with students in grades 3-8. Even without the game, you can use these images from co-creator Dan Finkel’s TEDx Talk to launch a conversation on how the colors relate to the number.

There’s a beautiful description of using the Prime Climb number images here.

NEW! Get a blank hundred chart to color in class here.


Here are some lessons to try after you play Prime Climb with students. These lessons especially target Common Core Math Standards 3.OA.C.7, 3.OA.D.8, 3.OA.D.9, 4.OA.A.3, and especially 4.OA.B.4 & 6.NS.4, as well as Math Practices 1 and 7.

Notes from a teacher on scaffolding the game in the classroom

I teach my students, specifically students who “don’t like” math, how to play Prime Climb through scaffolding. It works very well so thought I would share.
After teaching some of the basic rules we play with;

  1. 1 pawn and 1 dice
  2. 2 pawns and 1 dice
  3. 2 pawns and 2 dice

I usually give about 15 minutes of game play before introducing another piece or dice. I also teach it over the span of two days. Students have been very successful understanding the rules and figuring out strategies when I introduce the game this way. Thanks.

James D
7th grade Math Teacher

The image says it all. With that roll (6, 3), and a pawn on 48, questions beg to be asked:

  • What is the largest number you could move to?
  • What is the smallest number you could move to?
  • Can you move to a red circle (a prime number bigger than 10)? If so, which ones?
  • What are all the numbers you could move to on this turn?

You can make any or all of these a warm-up question, and it takes about a minute to generate a new problem: just place a pawn on the board, roll the dice, and take a picture.

  • The largest number you could move to is 96, via 48 ÷ 3 x 6.
  • The smallest number you could move to is 5, via 48 ÷ 6 – 3.
  • You can move to 11 via 48 ÷ 6 + 3. It is possible to prove that you cannot move to any other prime greater than 10 without writing out a complete list.
  • My list of moves is 5, 10, 11, 14, 18, 22, 39, 45, 51, 57, 96.

Is it complete?
  • Challenge students to get the most numbers they can. 
Notice how the colors can be used to check for divisibility from any given space.

In March 2017, I snapped these photos of a #primeclimbpuzzle.


After seeing the post, math teacher Nat Banting threw down the gauntlet to his students to make up their own puzzles. He posted these eight, student-generated puzzles on twitter, and wrote this blog post about the experience.

All these puzzles are based on the rules of Prime Climb, and some of them are devious indeed. Can you solve all eight?

When Prime Climb first came out (and had a different name) it was featured in the New York Times.

Can you solve those original puzzles from the New York Times Numberplay blog?

  1. How can you get two pawns from 0 to 101 in four rolls (that’s eight numbers) without any number appearing on a die more than once?
  2. It’s possible to solve the last problem with the additional stipulation that three of your four rolls sum to the same number. Can you find out how?
  3. On what number do you have the highest chance of being able to get to 101 on your next roll? (You don’t have to use both dice rolls when you reach 101, though of course you may.)
  4. In the middle of a certain game, Katherine and I were down to a single pawn each. Hers was on 24, and mine was on a certain unnamed number. I rolled a little too forcefully, and the dice went off the table on her side.
“Ha,” she said. “If you had been at 0, you could have hit me.”
“Then I can hit you from where I am!” I said.

What number was I on?
    See Numberplay for solutions.

The mental gymnastics can get pretty dazzling… Exciting, energizing fun!

Tilliwig Toy and Media Awards

A fun and simple way to bring multiplication, division, and prime numbers all in one easy to play game. Awesome!

Momma's Bacon

Instantly built a devoted audience of children and adults who fell in love with the game’s beautiful, colorful display, and connection with deep mathematical understanding.

Dr. Toy

If you are looking for a fun and educational game… this one is an absolute no brainer.

Mike's Math Page

Instantly built a devoted audience of children and adults who fell in love with the game’s beautiful, colorful display, and connection with deep mathematical understanding.

Dr. Toy

As a roomful of math teachers, we loved the mental math aspect of this game.

Sarah Hagen, Math = Love

If you were looking for a Candy Land-esque repetition you are in for a surprise!… a fantastic family game!

Engaged Family Gaming

For a game that is a relatively pure experience of math equations, I think you’ll be surprised how much fun it can be for players of all ages.

Top of the Table—Stellar Board Games that Actually Teach, by Matt Miller

Honestly, this has got to be one of the most engaging and effective ways of introducing the idea of primes being the ‘building blocks’ of numbers and building other general logic skills… Overall, Prime Climb is an incredibly flexible game, and certainly met the high expectations it set itself.


Take a look at Prime Climb, an excellent new game… perfect for adults and children alike.


Prime Climb is an excellent way to teach about prime numbers, factors, common multiples, and that math is fun!… I loved how Prime Climb engaged my math loving kids and my kids who tolerate math. It was engaging and challenging enough that no one was bored, but easy enough to understand that no one was frustrated. It was the perfect balance. (It was fun for the adults as well.)

Simply Schooling Reviews

A total success.

Benjamin Leis, Running a Math Club: My Experiences

This game is so rich in mathematical ideas that I literally spent a week investigating it with my class.

Games for Young Minds

This game blew my mind! It blew my wife’s mind, it blew my kid’s mind… it is one of the coolest visualizations of mathematics and prime numbers I’ve ever seen ever. It is awesome!

Edo's Game Reviews

A terrific new math game!

New York Times Numberplay Blog

This is an amazing game! It is genius actually. You can play this with both young and old and adapt it to anyone’s ability. Players must not only use their math skills but their strategy skills as well. I believe this game should be in every classroom in America as well as every home!!

Amazon Reviews

This board game will make you a math genius, and it is actually way fun!

Geektastic Dad

A great way to develop mathematical processing in a meaningful way.

Academics' Choice

By far one of my favorite game releases of 2014…. I cannot get over beauty and functionality of this game!

Sam Blanco, Teach Through Games

Amazing… one of those games that can be altered for any level of mathematics.

Lady Lilith, Little Lady Plays

Rated #1 Educational Math Game!

Ezvid Wiki

A surprisingly fun math game!

Parents' Choice Children's Media and Toy Reviews

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