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The traditional card game of War is used to practice math facts.
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About the Game
Arrange students into pairs to play this game. (After students master the game, they might play in teams of three or four.) Provide each pair of students with a deck of cards. The game is played in much the way the traditional card game War is played. The biggest difference is that players add (or subtract or multiply) the cards they reveal.
To arrange students into pairs, you might try this random method.
- Count out index cards so you have one for each student.
- Write on one card a simple math problem (e.g., 5 x 7) and write the answer to that problem (35) on a second card. Continue writing problems and solutions until you have written something on all the cards. Note: Be sure all the solution cards have a different number on them; in that way, only one problem card will match each solution card.
- Pass out the cards to students. Put a card face down on each students desk. (If you have an odd number of students, you hold one of the cards.)
- When you say "Go," each student flips over his or her card, reads it, and tries to locate the classmate with the matching card. When they find each other, the partners can begin playing the game below. If you have an odd number of students, the student who was holding the card that matched yours might play War with you or you might ask one of the pairs if they will allow a third person to be part of their game.
Choose the operation -- addition, subtraction, or multiplication -- you want students to practice. Each number card is worth its face value (e.g., the 7 of clubs has a value of 7). The Ace has a value of 1. Decide if you want students to leave in or take out the face cards. If you leave them in the game, decide what values those cards might have. For example:
Rules for Play
Students will have enjoyed the game and gotten some good practice from playing it. Many will ask if they can use the card decks to play the game with a partner in their free time.
Lesson Plan Source
MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES Pre-K - 2
NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
Find more great math teaching ideas in Education World's Math Center.
Click to return to the Lesson Planning article, Just the Facts: Five Games for Teaching Math Facts.