As part of my work in Sheffield with other teachers I have shown them the many different and varied ways of using cards as a basis for learning. Some of which are shown below. Cards are so simple to use and can be picked up for next to nothing, but can be used in so many different ways. So what are you waiting for, how can cards be used in your class today?
Game 1 – Can you sort it? Yes you can!
Players – 2 to 4
Materials – Cards with numbers cut off corners.
Early maths – recognising numbers from cards (corners cut off) Number sense develops first before number names. Can they sort them into piles (by colour, by shape, by number of items. Can be started with numbers up to 3 and then developed further.
Game 2 – Pairs
Players – 2 to 4
Materials – Cards (ace to 10 – remove picture cards) Numicon, digit cards, multilink, photos of numicon, photos of numbers in real life.
Chn have to match the digit card with the picture that matches it – alternatives to this include cards and then chn matching it to the numicon, or multilink or whatever you want to use!
Game 3 – Target Number
Players 2 to 4
Materials – Cards Ace through 10. or a set of dominoes
Pairs that total _____. Cards face down, chn take turns to reveal 2 cards and count to see if they total the target number. Leave them turned over if they don’t so the next player can use if they want to. If they get a target number they get to keep the cards, or get a multilink, or build the numicon.
Game 4 – Highest Card wins
Players – 2 to 4
Materials – Cards Ace through 10 face down on table. (Or dominoes as an alternative)
Highest card wins – chn turn over a card each and count the symbols. Winner is person with highest card. Can be adapted to number closest to____ or the person with the number that is the same as this numicon shape(need to show picture for this)
Game 5 – The Secret Card
Players: Groups of two
Materials: Cards Ace through 10 for each player, face cards removed
Each child gets a set of cards Ace through 10 (for the numbers 1-10).
The first player then tells whether the secret card is greater than or less than the face-up card. The second player continues to make guesses by selecting and showing different cards until he/she has discovered the value of the secret card.
Players then switch roles.
Game 6 – Who can make…Players: - As many as you would like.
Materials: - Pack of cards or set of dominoes
Pick 3 (or 4 or 5) cards – Who can make the biggest number? Who can make the number closest to ________.
Progression: - Can you multiply the numbers to try and make a number close to 50? 60? Etc
Game 7 – 10’s go fish
Players: - Up to 5
Materials – Pack of cards (face cards removed) or set of dominoes (or can be done with numicon pieces or pictures)
Number bonds to 10 game. Players are dealt the pack of cards between them and have to find the bonds to 10 as pairs. These are put to one side. They then have to go fish to try and lose all their cards as pairs that total 10. They say, “Go Fish” to ask for a card from the person who is next.
Game 8 – What do I have?
Players: - Small group work
Materials: - Pack of cards (faces removed)
Teacher or child chooses 2 cards and tells the children that they add up to _____ - what could the cards be?
Game 9 – Factors of ??
Players: - Can be a whole class or small group activity
Materials: - Dominoes or pack of cards
Teacher chooses 2 cards and tells the children that they are factors of ______. What numbers might I have in my hand?
Game 10 – Maths I-Spy
Players – as many as you’d like
Materials: - A pack of cards (face cards removed but leave Jokers in) or dominoes
The aim of this game is to be the person with the most cards at the end of the game.
A whole set of cards (face cards missing) are placed face up on a table.
Teacher (or game leader) says, “I spy with my maths eye, 2 numbers that add up to 7”
Children have to look at the table to find two numbers which are adjacent to each other either horizontally, or vertically and point to them as quick as they can.
Once they have found the two numbers they are removed and cards moved closer to each other. That person then becomes the Spy.
Can be extended to multiplication for Y2 (just use number cards 2,5,10 for instance). Extended further to all multiplication facts for Y4 onwards.
Not a card game.
Game 11 – Make a difference
Players – 2 (y1-y2)
Materials – 3 x 4 grid (numbered 1-12), two dice, coloured counters.
The aim of this game is to cover the most numbers when using simple addition or subtraction involving numbers less than 6.
The chn throw the dice. If they get a 3 and a 5 they can either do 3+5 (8) or 5-3 (2) they would then place their counter on their chosen number on the games board. Once their counter is their it cannot be replaced.
Children repeat this until all numbers are covered.
Winner is player who has most counters on at the end of the game.
This game can be easily extended by using bigger grids, using three dice, using multiplication instead of addition and subtraction.
Useful Websites with many more ideas on how to use cards!
I'm a deputy head in Scarborough, England and love using media and tech to develop writing. I'm also a keen advocate of Learning Without Limits and believe in a games based approach to developing mathematicians.