Have Fun With Math Card Games – Seven Ways to Use Card Games in Math Class

Using a deck of cards in math class can be a quick fun way to have fun with math. A perfect way to quickly review or reinforce math facts and concepts is for students to have fun with math card games. It does not matter if you use regular cards (Ace to King) and make up fun math games to use with them or create specialized decks based on math fact drill or concepts being taught (i.e. fractions, factors, place value). What does matter is that the students are manipulating these cards and actively involved in retrieving the answers and having fun at the same time.

Use a deck of fact cards when playing a board game. Simple as can be, roll the dice whatever number is on the dice is the number of fact cards that must be read before moving.
Make memory matching sets. The problem on one card the answer on another. Be careful not to have too many problems with the same answer. This kind of memory game should only have about 10-15 problems, 20-30 cards total.
This leads to playing what we used to call war. The answer takes the problem. Add a second or third set so multiple problems and answers are there to make it interesting. Another variation would be have only problems, no answer cards and the highest answer takes the cards.
Use a standard deck of cards (Ace -King). Play any traditional card game, but make the student do something with the numbers. If it is a discard game, they add or multiply the card being discarded to the one already there. If it is one where you place three of a kind , or three in a sequence down you have to do something with them, add the all up, add the first two subtract the next one. Name all the factors using the numbers and so on.
Use a standard deck (A-9 only) for place value. They have their decks of cards, call out a number see how long it takes them to find the numbers and get them in the correct order. Face cards can be commas.
Fun Card games where you fish around for cards. This is based on an old favorite where the players have 4-5 cards and pick up from a scattered pile and ask others if they have certain cards. The goal is four of a kind, placed on the table. Put problems only on the card. The question is, “Do you have a problem with the answer ____?” Make sure there only four problems with the same answer.
Use a popular card game with numbers, colors, wilds, skips and Draw 2/4 cards. Play it with the standard rules. The wilds would change the operation. Start out adding, every time you put a card down you add it to the one already there. Older students keep a running total. When a wild is played the operation changes. A teacher will have to decide if they want to mess with division!
As you can see the possibilities are endless, these are just some ideas to get the creative juices moving and help you think of ways to have fun with math card games in your math class. Card games can be quick and a great reinforcement drill as students do not mind seeing the same facts over an over again when a bit of competition is thrown in.
Sue Gnagy Fegan used a structured, sequential multi-sensory 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. Teachers and parents will benefit from having a secret weapon available to them with a variety of well researched, fun and innovative ideas at their fingertips.

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