How fun is it to learn math? I’m clearly in the minority here because I used to LOVE teaching math. I love playing number sense games and learning cool math tricks. Most people, unfortunately, do not share my love for either.
So, how do you encourage kids to love math? Play games! There are many games you can play with just a deck of standard playing cards. At a loss for those? I’ve got you covered! Click here for a full-page set (intended to be laminated for whole class lessons) or here for a half-page set. If you’re looking to save paper, try this set with 10 cards per page.
Here are a few math card games to try:
Arithmetic War: Divide the deck among the players. Each player turns their top two cards face up. The winner of that hand has the greatest total, product or difference depending on which operation you are focusing on.
Memory Multiplication (Addition or Subtraction): Assign face cards as a value of 10 or remove them for lower ability students. Lay the cards out face down in a grid. Pick a target number. Flip over cards two at a time. If their total/difference/product equal the target number, the player collects the cards and goes again. If not, it is the next player’s turn.
Pyramid Solitaire: Deal the cards out in a pyramid shape with a row or 1 card, a row below that of 2 cards, etc. Each new row should partially hide the row above it. Deal out 7 rows and place the remaining cards in a pile. In this game, Jacks are worth 11, Queens= 12 and Kings= 13. Using the deck of cards and the pyramid, begin remove any 2 exposed cards whose sum is 13.
24: Deal 4 cards to each player. Players use the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) to reach a total of 24 (or another pre-assigned number.)
Ready for more? Try the Mental Math for Struggling Students Card Bundle. It contains 5 fun math games that will help kids improve their skills.
And check out the other fun STEM stuff in the store!
Lane specializes in STEM curriculum design and professional development for K-12 stakeholders and enjoys making teachers’ lives easier through innovative, standards-based STEM lessons.