Friday, January 31, 2014

Math Fact Friday: 3 Card Games

My students’ favorite Math Fact Fridays are always when we get to play games.  Any time I see playing cards (especially themed) in the Target “1-spot”, I buy them.  Something about that 1-spot has me addicted! (See what I do with the file folders here!)  I’ve also found plain playing cards and a set of six dice there!  I now have Hello Kitty, Cars, and plain playing cards.

Playing cards are easy resources for math games because they are so cheap and versatile.  You can write the directions on the board or print a hand out for each student to keep in their binder.  These math games can be used as a warm-up, a treat for the end of the day on Friday (which is what I usually did), or a station. 

My two favorite card games growing up were war and speed.  I modified these two games for use in the classroom.  You can use the face cards or take them out.

Math War

This game can be played with 2-5 players
The goal of the game is to have all of the cards at the end.
First, split up the entire deck of cards between students.  If there are more than 3 students playing you may want to add another deck of cards. 
The player left of the dealer starts (or use your own rule, like whoever’s birthday is closest to today or whoever is wearing the most green, etc.) 
Players flip over two cards at a time and say the product of their two cards.  Whoever has a bigger product keeps all cards. 
If a player says the wrong product, the person who corrects them gets all the cards. 
The game is over when one player has all of the cards.  That person is the winner.

Math Speed

This game was a little tougher to modify.  But we did it!  This game is played with 2 players.
The goal of the game is to have no cards at the end.
Deal 4 piles in the center of the two players.  From left to right, the piles should have 5 cards, 1 card, 1 card, and 5 cards.
The remaining cards are split up between the two players.
Each player takes 5 cards from their pile in their hand.
When both players are ready, they simultaneously flip over the two center cards. 
To place a card on a center card, the card in their hand must be one higher or one lower than the card on the table.
Students continue stacking until there are no more plays.
When there are no more plays, the students say the product of the two cards on the top of the stacks.  Whoever says the product last or says the wrong product has to take all of the cards.
VARIATION:  I like to add this rule in with my middle schoolers.  Anytime both cards on the top of the stack are the same number, a student can yell out the product and the other student must take the stacks.
The game is over when one student has no cards left.

Math Flash

This is the most simple of the card games.  Play with half a deck (only red or only black).
Can be played with 1-5 students.
Place all cards face down on the table.  I like to put them in a rectangle, but really any shape works.
Students take turns turning over 2 cards at a time.
When the two cards are turned over, all students say the product of the cards. 
Whoever says the correct product first keeps the cards.
The game is over when there are no more cards on the table.
The student with the most cards at the end wins.


Download a hand out for each of these games FREE on TeachersPay Teachers.

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