Everyone knows how to play cards, and those that do not love learning how. Math card games can be games a teacher dreams up themselves or adaptations of familiar games. By having sets of cards easily available, teaching a few common games with easy to follow rules and learning how to use your computer to save time, any math class can begin to use card games to make math more fun in their classroom. This article will give a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
First of all it is imperative to learn to use your computer to make your own cards or to download card games from websites. Most people think spreadsheets and data base programs are for crunching numbers but they can be a valuable tool to make game cards. Once you learn to do this, you will have your math facts and other problems at your finger tips and ready to print when needed. If you purchase a digital downloadable product, that gives you printable math card games to use whenever you want. They will also give you ideas to jump start your own creative juices. So, take the time to learn to use the computer tools available, we all know our children are more computer savvy than us, so twist their arms to show you how!
In addition to making your own math cards, compiling cards sets from popular commercial games will add to your arsenal. Whether it is traditional deck of cards or a popular game with numbers and colors or shapes, these cards can be used the classroom. Adaptations to many commercial card game with single digit numbers can be as simple as adding or multiplying the card being placed on a pile to the one that is already there! Combine sets of cards together to make larger decks and adapt the game for more people or dream up new rules. The important piece here, is to think ahead and print off card sets, onto tag weight paper, and search at yard sales for enough sets of commercial cards so that when it comes time to play, there are plenty to go around.
Finally, taking the time at the beginning of the year to make sure the students understand the rules to some common basic card games will save loads of time when actually playing them as fun math games. You might think everyone has played some sort of matching game where you have to remember where cards are and match them, but there will be some who do not know that game. The same with card games where you draw from a pile and discard or ones where you ask other players if they have certain cards. Once you learn how to play games involving these core rules, most any card game introduced will be easy to learn as they all are based on the same principles.
Keeping it simple is a great way to start with your development of some fun math card games to use with your students. Children often prefer the simpler games than the more complicated ones played on their home video game systems. Be sure to keep thinking of ways to make math more fun and have some fun yourself playing these card games with the students.
Sue Gnagy Fegan used a structured, sequential multisensory teaching approach for the past 34 years. She saw first hand the benefits of engaging students in productive, hands on activities in class. She created and has presented Make it Fun! Make it Challenging! Make it Multisensory! workshop at conferences across the country.