Every year in the classroom, one of my first-week activities is to have students make their own set of digit cards. Each child would bring in a pack on lineless index cards and would make a set of digit cards to use all year long. I always encourage parents to have a set at home as well. A deck of cards can work fine, but I find having the numerical value work better. Digit cards can be used with younger children and up through middle school. For younger students, each set can contain two of each digit from 0-9, such as two 0s, two 1s, two 2s, etc. For students older than 2nd grade, each set should have at least four of each digit, 0-9.
Digit cards can be used in so many ways! Instead of students answering verbally, using the cards gives them time to process the question, look for the number(s), and come up with the answer.
Here are some ways you can use digit cards at home.
• Place/Value & Number Recognition: Many students have trouble reading and creating large numbers. Say a number (age appropriate) and the child creates that number using the digit cards. They, he or she reads the number back to you. You can also ask place value questions like “What is the value of the 4 in your number?" or “What place is the 7 in?"
• Math Facts: Have the children lay out the digit cards. You can ask them their facts verbally or show them a flash card. Instead of the kids answering verbally, they find the digit card or cards to create the answer. This can be done with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division.
• What's My Number: Create number riddles for your children to answer, and have them come up with the answer using the digit cards. For example:
My number is a 3-digit number.
It is an even number.
It is 30 greater than 246.
Student(s) find the digit cards 2, 7 and 6 to make 276.
• Mental Math: Have children answer mental math questions using the digit cards. It helps them to “see" the digits and answer the questions faster mentally. It can really build confidence and number sense.
• Math War: These cards can be used to play any type of war. Mix up the digit cards and split the deck between the players. Each player turns over two cards. The player with the greater answer wins!
Create a set of digit cards at home and watch your child's number sense and love for math grow immensely!