Friday, September 28, 2007

Math Card Game for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

This morning Benny and I invented a new way to use our giant deck of cards to study math. Here's what we did:

We shuffled the deck and put the pile next to his paper. He would flip over two cards, write those values in the spaces, then choose whether to use multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction to find an answer. Then he wrote the answer.

This was a great exercise for three reasons:

1. It was fun for him to write his own questions and he loves using the cards.

2. It made him consider the answer to all four of the problems, before he chose one to write down. He most wanted to use division, since that to him is the coolest, so he would be happy if he pulled, for example, a king and a 4, so he could divide twelve by four.

3. He got to test me a little -- on the last few he did, he left the operation circle blank, and asked me which operation he had used. Rather than hesitating to give him the answer, I cheerfully participated in my part of the quiz, because he already had to have figured it out, to be asking me.

I want to do this exercise again, and I made a printable math game page for future use, which I will share with you.

This could be used in different ways -- the kid could fill in the numbers and quiz you on which operation was used, you could use it blank with a deck of cards like we did, or you could use it to solve for X if you leave just one of the spaces blank and give the answers. Hope it's useful!

Here's an image preview of the page, click on it or the link above for the print-friendly web page:

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  1. Anonymous3:04 PM

    You are one of a tiny handful of people who know how to use commonly found household items to make learning fun.

  2. What a great idea! They enjoy learning so much when they get to make the choices of how to do things, don't they? And making you figure out the operation....he sounds like a bright guy :)

    Have you contributed this post to the Carnival of Homeschooling? If not, you should.

  3. I'm am SO using that game next week! William will love it!

    I've gotten very, very creative with games to make violin practicing enjoyable, but I haven't been as creative with school stuff. I should try harder. lol

  4. Thanks for the printable! We did this today and it was a hit. We aren't really doing multiplication and division yet so I let my daughter choose whether she wanted to add or subtract.

  5. I like that idea. It reminds me of a technique I was taught when studying to be a teacher. You pick two numbers, one a fraction, one a decimal. You add, subtract, multiply and divide them with each other as decimals and also as fractions, then you change the final answers to decimals or fractions to compare and see if you got the correct answer (i.e. was your answer from the decimal problem the same as your fraction answer when you convert them).

    I've taught many middle school students (and even adults) who never learned their times tables. I wrote html code for a web site so students could get practice online at home or at school.

    Brett Taylor

  6. What a great idea! I'll be doing this with my children soon. Thanks for sharing.


  7. This is a wonderful idea! I think we'll use it - with a little modification. I think my daughter would "always" choose addition, since it is easiest to her. So, I think I'll have her draw cards and we'll each write the numbers on our paper. Then, we'll each do a problem and write the answer. When we have all of the answers down (but none of the signs) we'll exchange papers and try to figure out what the other person did! I think she'll love this game. Thanks!!!

  8. Anonymous10:08 PM

    you could also just assign one task (sub., add.) to one color. red=add, black=sub.