Sunday, September 9, 2012
When it comes to review, my go-to game is War. I doubt I'm alone in using this game as my backup for practice. This is that card game most kids learn in Kindergarten or so, at least in the US. One of these days I'll post some of the mats I made for some of the variants.
The basic game goes like this:
1) Each kid gets a roughly equal part of a deck of cards.
2) Everyone flips a card at the same time. The kid with the highest (or lowest) card collects everyone's cards.
3) If there's a tie between two or more kids, everyone leaves their cards down and the tied kids flip again until someone is the winner. The winner takes all the cards that are down.
4) Keep playing until time's up or someone has all the cards. Whoever has the most when you run out of time, wins.
This game is very versatile. So, you could have kids flip two cards each round and add them together, with the largest or smallest number as the winner. You can do this for pretty much any of the 4 basic arithmetic functions with any number of digits. You can have groups go head-to-head with a judge. You can also use it for place value (flip 3 or more cards, read the number out loud, largest/smallest wins), decimals, and fractions. For fractions I create paper mats with outlines for the cards and a fraction bar between them. You can start with fractions, have everyone calculate the decimal equivalent, and then largest/smallest wins. It goes on and on. For any "rote" practice activity you can probably come up with a War variant.
Another nice thing is that you don't have to keep your cards together in decks since it doesn't really matter what you start with. You can just keep them all in a basket or bin together and everyone pulls out a handful to play. No shuffling that way! If you remove the face cards and then later decide you want to use them to represent 10s or 11s or whatever, just keep them in a separate bin and everyone can grab a handful from each basket so they have some of everything.
I like to use the Joker as a zero. It seems fitting.
And yes, you can buy math cards that don't have face cards or you can buy special decks for rummy, but I just make do with the cheap stuff from the dollar bin. I tell the kids it's good to be flexible, imaginative, and creative. Plus, it's a memory workout to remember what's what!