Package 2-2 Race to zero

This game helps your child develop their confidence in using a range of strategies for subtraction.

Things you need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


  • Race to zero video

  • Activity sheet 1: Race to zero game board

  • Activity sheet 2: Spinners 0-9 and 20-70

  • 2 counters

  • 2 paper clips

  • Pen

Back up

  • Additional copies of Activity sheet 1

  • 2 items to represent counters

Why is this activity important?

This game helps your child develop their confidence in using a range of strategies for subtraction. The game board (number chart) gives your child the opportunity to develop and use their understanding of place value, patterns and mathematical number relationships. It also supports your child by encouraging them to share their mathematical reasoning.

Before you start

Make sure your child has the required resources ready.

Check that the video is working and the audio settings are correct for your child.

What your child needs to know and do

This game encourages your child to share what they know about numbers, patterns and subtracting strategies.

What to do next

View the video Race to zero.

How to play?

  • Players place their counters at the end of 119.

  • The person whose birthday is closest to February 29 goes first.

  • Players take turns to spin both spinners and decide which to use, subtracting the amount from their current position.

    • For example, a player rolled 60 and 4. He or she can choose to subtract 60 or 4.

  • Players explain where they need to move their counter to and explain their thinking.

  • If their partner agrees, they move the counter to the corresponding position.

  • Players take turns until someone has been able to land exactly on zero.

  • Players miss a turn if they cannot move or they have to move their counter back to 25.

  • If a spin means they would move into negative numbers, they have to move their counter back to 25.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Give your child time to think about how they can use the number chart to support their thinking. They may like to use another strategy to check their thinking.

Only use the 0-9 spinner.

Activity too easy?

Players could be strategic and choose to use their turn, skip their turn or make the other player action their turn.

Your child may like to extend their game board into negative numbers.

Follow-up questions to ask your child

  • How is your thinking similar or different to…?

  • So you’re saying… Do I have that correct?

  • Can you please say more about your thinking?

  • I am going to use that strategy you used… is that how you would have thought about it?

Extension/Additional activity

Another way to play:

  • Use a 0-119 chart cut into a number strip as a game board.

  • Select a different target number.

  • Extending the game board.

Activity sheet 1

0-119 bottoms up hundreds chart (game board)

Activity sheet 2

Spinner labelled 20, 70, 40, 30, 50, 60.

spinner labelled 0-9

Return to top of page Back to top