Calling all KS3 students - ever dreamt of designing your own computer game?

Do you have a vivid imagination? Do you want to take part in a competition where your creativity has no limits?



We are asking your KS3 students to work together in teams of 4-6 and design a level-based online maths game (similar to those found at for children to play across the globe to improve their maths skills. The winning entry will actually be made into a real online game which will be available worldwide!

The game design should involve solving maths problems and be themed around cracking a code in order to make an escape. Students need to choose one of the following maths topics or sub-topics below to build their maths game around:

Please select only ONE of the four topics below. Feel free to include one or more sub-topics within the game design.

  1. Pattern (Shapes and numbers). Could include things like times tables, number patterns, tessellations, sequences and series, functions/graphs.
  2. Positives and negatives (Number and algebra). Could include things like adding and subtracting with negatives, dividing and multiplying with negatives, negative indices, substituting negatives into expressions.
  3. Keeping time (Measuring, tracking, estimating, converting times). Could include things like days of the week, decades/fortnights/millenia, estimating times from a timetable, converting between hours and minutes.
  4. Working with data (Probability and statistics). Could include reading and interpreting data representations, calculating data measures such as mean/median/mode, estimating probability and using probability trees.

Any students in Years 7, 8 or 9 can take part in this competition. 

We encourage students of all mathematical ability to get involved!

Teams must consist of 4-6 students, all from the same year group.

Your whole school will receive complimentary access to until 17th May 2019, to enable your KS3 students to draw inspiration from Mangahigh's maths games.

who can take part?


Register your school on this page to sign them up for the competition. (You only need to register your school once if you are submitting entries for different year groups).

Your school will receive complimentary access to until 17th May, so that your students can draw inspiration from Mangahigh's maths games.  In order to make use of this, you'll need to set up logins for your students.  You can do so by completing and returning this template to

Setting up logins for your students is highly recommended, but not required to participate in the Maths Game Design Competition. 

Distribute the Mangahigh logins to your students, and let them explore Mangahigh's maths games.  Then, get your students to form teams of 4 - 6 and come up with a team name. The students in each team must be in the same year group.

Let your students watch this video to get an overview of what the competition involves and how to get started.

Students can then create their idea and document it by using our game design template below.  The game should involve solving maths problems and be themed around cracking a code in order to make an escape. The topic of the game should be Pattern OR Positives and negatives OR Keeping time OR Working with data.

All submissions must be entered by 21st May to
 (Your school must be registered for the entry to be accepted into the competition).

The top 10 teams from around the country will be invited to our event on the 27th June at Nesta Headquarters in London for the final judging round and awards ceremony. Each team will have to present their idea to our expert panel of judges and the winning team design will be announced on the day. Travel costs will be covered. 


judging criteria



use of maths

Computer games are designed to be fun so be as imaginative as you like. This game will be used by students around the globe so it needs to be fun, inclusive and include an element of replay value.

The theme needs to be based around making an escape, such as mummies escaping a pyramid, cracking a code to escape a room or anything you can imagine!

Each level in the game needs to solve mathematical problems according to the chosen maths topic from the list above. The game design needs to show how the game starts on easy questions to solve around the chosen maths topics and how they get harder through each level.

Try and achieve richness and depth of understanding on your chosen mathematical skill as opposed to covering lots of skills in your game.

This challenge is all about teamwork, so it is how you and your group collaborate on researching and creating your game idea. 

Teams will also be assessed on their final presentation and how they worked together throughout the entire process. 

About cracking the code

Cracking the Code is part of Maths Mission, a partnership between Tata Limited, Tata Consultancy Services and Nesta, aiming to find innovative new ways to improve problem-solving and maths skills. This year Maths Mission has teamed up with Mangahigh to provide a challenge for secondary students which aims to encourage a love of maths and problem-solving outside the formal curriculum.





Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time, making use of our knowledge, networks, funding and skills. We work in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity that works all over the world, supported by a financial endowment. To find out more visit

Having established Tata Limited in 1907 to represent the group in Europe, Tata now has 19 companies operating across the continent, with a combined workforce of over 65,000. These companies include: Jaguar Land Rover; Tata Steel Europe; Tata Motors; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS); Tata Global Beverages (including Tetley Tea); Tata Chemicals and Taj Hotels. European markets with a key Tata presence include; the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Tata Consultancy Services



Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT, BPS, infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. 

A part of the Tata group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has over 385,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 46 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $17.58 billion for year ended March 31, 2017 and is listed on the BSE Limited and National Stock Exchange of India Limited. For more information, visit us at

Mangahigh is a digital game-based learning resource designed to help teachers teach maths and coding. Used by over 5,000 schools in 50+ countries, Mangahigh content is aligned to various international curricula and uses AI to personalise learning. The platform provides comprehensive analytics for teachers to assess the performance of a student, a class or the whole school. For more information on Mangahigh visit



This form is for teachers to complete only.  To register your school for the Cracking the Code Maths Game Competition, simply fill in your details.

By registering to take part in the Competition you confirm that you agree to the Competition terms and conditions and Nesta’s Privacy Notice for how your information will be used for the purpose of the Competition, and you agree to the standard terms of use and privacy policy of the Mangahigh website. Please read the terms and conditions and privacy policies before submitting your registration. 

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