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April 26, 2017

# 3 Quick Math Games With Playing Cards

We’ve all had those days where the classroom routine is off. Perhaps you are hopping from a field trip or assembly back to your classroom, but don’t have enough time or energy to start a new lesson. Some days, you may find you have 20 minutes to kill and the kids need a little brain break. Or maybe you are in between state tests and your kids need to do something that doesn’t involve bubbling in their answer, but you want to keep their brains thinking and reviewing. Could be you are simply done with all the heavy curriculum and are closing up shop in the last few weeks of school and just want to use a little time for a quick game. Whatever the case may be, card games are fun, easy to do, and a natural way to integrate some math into your time without getting another boring worksheet out.

Here are three quick card games that are easy to set up and learn, and perfect for reviewing and regrouping math facts, subitizing, and using problem-solving skills!

## Nifty 50 (2 players)

This game is great to develop logical thinking and problem solving, review two digit addition and subtraction regrouping, and is fun! The object is to come up with a math equation that has a sum or difference closest to the number 50. First player to five points is the winner!

Deal all the cards between all the players. Each player turns over four cards and makes a two digit + two digit number sentence or two digit – two digit number sentence that has solution is closest to 50. The equation that is closest to 50 gets one point. IF you can create an equation that is exactly 50, it’s worth 2 points. If both players have the same answer, no one gets a point.

During play, Aces are worth 1, and face cards and 10s are worth 0, other cards are face value. After the cards are used, they are put in a discard pile. We played five rounds with two players in a group, but it can easily be up to four players with two decks of cards. My students used their whiteboards to work out various equations before settling on the one closest to 50.

## Make Ten Solitaire(1-2 players)

This game is traditionally played as solitaire, but can easily be modified for two players. It allows younger kids to be able to practice their math facts to 10.

Deal the cards into three rows of five face up, the rest are in a pile face down to the side. If you can add two cards that equal the sum of 10, you collect the cards. New cards are dealt into the holes that were left from the cards that were picked up. Face cards (K,Q, J, 10) can only be picked up if you have a matching pair. If you are playing the solitaire version, you win if you can pick up all the cards in the entire deck without getting stuck! If you are playing with two players, and there are no more moves to be made, the player with the most cards at that time is the winner.

## 21 (2-4 players)

This game is a simplified version played in casinos, with no gambling involved. Object: be the closest to 21 without going over! Each player is dealt two cards to start. Each player has the option to take another card to attempt to improve their hand to the number 21. If they go over or “bust” they get 0 points. If they are the closest to 21 without going over, they get 1 point. If there is a tie, all the players that are tied get 1 point. If they get 21 on the first 2 cards dealt, they get 2 points. First player to 10 points wins.

## 8 Teacher Tips:

1.     Don’t spend your money on purchasing playing cards! If you live near an area that has a casino, most casinos are happy to donate their used playing cards for you to use in class. Just bring a letter requesting decks of cards to the information desk at the casino or players club area and pick up your free decks of playing cards.

2.     In addition to decks of cards, ask for dice in your request letter. Casinos have tons of used dice available as well. These can also be used for fun math games!

3.     Save your sanity and organize your cards before you begin. I mark each deck with a symbol on the back so that we can clean up quickly and the stray cards are easy to put back into the matching deck.

4.     I love using travel soap containers to store my cards. They are the perfect size to hold a single deck and under a dollar to buy. However, a plastic baggie works just as well, they just don’t stand up to heavy use and need to be replaced.

5.     Don’t forget to mark the box or bag with the same symbol that the decks are marked with, so that it’s easy to find the correct deck to return a stray card.

6.     Always have the students count the cards to make sure that all the cards are in the deck before returning the deck to you.

7.     Allow the kids to use a whiteboard to work out their equations and keep score.

8.     Print out the directions to the games and send it home with the kids along with a deck of cards tied up with ribbon as a cute end of the year gift for your students! Just click here or on the image below to download your own set of rules.

Have fun playing these quick games with your kids all year long, and even all summer long to keep their math skills sharp.

Happy Teaching,

Nancy

We’ve all had those days where the classroom routine is off. Perhaps you are hopping from a field trip or assembly back to your classroom, but don’t have enough time or energy to start a new lesson. Some days, you may find you have 20 minutes to kill and the kids need a little brain break. Or maybe you are in between state tests and your kids need to do something that doesn’t involve bubbling in their answer, but you want to keep their brains thinking and reviewing. Could be you are simply done with all the heavy curriculum and are closing up shop in the last few weeks of school and just want to use a little time for a quick game. Whatever the case may be, card games are fun, easy to do, and a natural way to integrate some math into your time without getting another boring worksheet out.

Here are three quick card games that are easy to set up and learn, and perfect for reviewing and regrouping math facts, subitizing, and using problem-solving skills!

## Nifty 50 (2 players)

This game is great to develop logical thinking and problem solving, review two digit addition and subtraction regrouping, and is fun! The object is to come up with a math equation that has a sum or difference closest to the number 50. First player to five points is the winner!

Deal all the cards between all the players. Each player turns over four cards and makes a two digit + two digit number sentence or two digit – two digit number sentence that has solution is closest to 50. The equation that is closest to 50 gets one point. IF you can create an equation that is exactly 50, it’s worth 2 points. If both players have the same answer, no one gets a point.

During play, Aces are worth 1, and face cards and 10s are worth 0, other cards are face value. After the cards are used, they are put in a discard pile. We played five rounds with two players in a group, but it can easily be up to four players with two decks of cards. My students used their whiteboards to work out various equations before settling on the one closest to 50.

## Make Ten Solitaire(1-2 players)

This game is traditionally played as solitaire, but can easily be modified for two players. It allows younger kids to be able to practice their math facts to 10.

Deal the cards into three rows of five face up, the rest are in a pile face down to the side. If you can add two cards that equal the sum of 10, you collect the cards. New cards are dealt into the holes that were left from the cards that were picked up. Face cards (K,Q, J, 10) can only be picked up if you have a matching pair. If you are playing the solitaire version, you win if you can pick up all the cards in the entire deck without getting stuck! If you are playing with two players, and there are no more moves to be made, the player with the most cards at that time is the winner.

## 21 (2-4 players)

This game is a simplified version played in casinos, with no gambling involved. Object: be the closest to 21 without going over! Each player is dealt two cards to start. Each player has the option to take another card to attempt to improve their hand to the number 21. If they go over or “bust” they get 0 points. If they are the closest to 21 without going over, they get 1 point. If there is a tie, all the players that are tied get 1 point. If they get 21 on the first 2 cards dealt, they get 2 points. First player to 10 points wins.

## 8 Teacher Tips:

1.     Don’t spend your money on purchasing playing cards! If you live near an area that has a casino, most casinos are happy to donate their used playing cards for you to use in class. Just bring a letter requesting decks of cards to the information desk at the casino or players club area and pick up your free decks of playing cards.

2.     In addition to decks of cards, ask for dice in your request letter. Casinos have tons of used dice available as well. These can also be used for fun math games!

3.     Save your sanity and organize your cards before you begin. I mark each deck with a symbol on the back so that we can clean up quickly and the stray cards are easy to put back into the matching deck.

4.     I love using travel soap containers to store my cards. They are the perfect size to hold a single deck and under a dollar to buy. However, a plastic baggie works just as well, they just don’t stand up to heavy use and need to be replaced.

5.     Don’t forget to mark the box or bag with the same symbol that the decks are marked with, so that it’s easy to find the correct deck to return a stray card.

6.     Always have the students count the cards to make sure that all the cards are in the deck before returning the deck to you.

7.     Allow the kids to use a whiteboard to work out their equations and keep score.

8.     Print out the directions to the games and send it home with the kids along with a deck of cards tied up with ribbon as a cute end of the year gift for your students! Just click here or on the image below to download your own set of rules.

Have fun playing these quick games with your kids all year long, and even all summer long to keep their math skills sharp.

Happy Teaching,

Nancy

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