Strategy

Playing Cards

UDL 3.4 UDL 5.2

Traditional playing cards or more specialized cards (e.g. cards with fractions, analog clocks, shapes, etc.) can be used in math to enhance students' mathematical skills in focused areas. There are many games that match mathematical objectives that can be played using playing cards. These games involve sorting, greater-than and less-than, number battle (War), adding and subtracting positive and negative integers, and multiplication and division.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Manipulatives

Large Playing Cards

A set of oversized playing cards in an easy-to-print format.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 27 pages


Manipulatives

Large Playing Cards without Images

A set of oversized playing cards in an easy-to-print format. The cards in this set do not include images to allow for students to create original designs.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 27 pages


Manipulatives

Traditional Playing Cards

A set of standard playing cards in an easy-to-print format.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 8 pages


Manipulatives

Traditional Playing Cards without Images

A set of standard playing cards in an easy-to-print format. The cards in this set do not include images to allow for students to create original designs.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 7 pages


Implementation Tips

Teacher Modeling
Prior to having students playing independently, show students how to play the game using the playing cards through modeling and scaffolding instruction. Scaffolding instruction may include having the instructor provide think-aloud instructions to the whole class. Next, the instructor might practice the game with one or two students in front of the class. Finally, the students will break off into pairs and practice the math game using the playing cards independently.
Written Instructions
Some students may need to have written instructions or a visual step-by-step task list available for how to play the math games.
Additional Support Through Scaffolding
Think about how to vary the degree of difficulty for the players depending on the needs of the students. For example, students in the class may be learning how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers. When playing the card game, some students may need an added visual support of a number line with the positive numbers in black and negative numbers in red. While playing the card game, students can use the number line to practice adding and subtracting the positive and negative integers.

Examples

Sorting and Classifying
Students have a deck of cards in which each card contains a shape in one of various colors. Students can sort the deck based on the shape (e.g. triangles, rectangles, circles or squares) or by color (red, yellow, green or blue).
Greater-Than and Less-Than Number Comparison
In pairs, each student flips over one card and determines which number is greater than or less than the other number.
Adding Positive and Negative Integers Number Battle
Using a regular deck of cards, red suites represent negative integers and black suites represent positive integers. In pairs, each student flips over to two cards and adds the the two cards (e.g. a red 3 and a black 7 is -3 + 7 = 4). The student with the highest overall solution wins the play.
Additional Games
For additional math games using playing cards, Acing Math (One Deck At A Time) is available at the [[ http://www.pepnonprofit.org/mathematics.html | Positive Engagement Project ]].

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