Weekly Tribes 2015 – Math Wars

This is a very noisy, but totally engaging way to practice some Math…addition, multiplication, fractions, integers….

You will need 1 deck of cards per pair of students. And once you play, those decks of cards will never be the same!

Give each student half a deck of cards. Jacks = 11, Queens = 12 and Kings = 13.

Have students line up a row of desks, so that they can sit across from one another. If you have an extra student, you will have to play!

Start with adding. When you say go, each student throws down a card (that comes from the top of the deck and they do not see it beforehand.) In each pair, the first one to correctly shout out the answer of the sum of the two cards, gets to take the ‘pile’. Do this for 20-30 seconds. Call STOP! (or have a good loud signal…you can see why this is a loud activity!?) The student with the most cards in his/her pile moves RIGHT, the student with the least, moves LEFT (least = left). The ‘top’ of the line of desks winner stays put, and the bottom of the line of desks ‘non-winner’ stays put. The top of the line of desks ‘loser’ moves to the bottom of the line of desks. It will take a while for students to figure out how to move…and virtually everyone moves somewhere after each round, except the winner at the top. Sometimes the movement is a diagonal one., across and up, or across and down.

I have not met a group of students who doesn’t love this strategy.

Make it more challenging with multiplication. For integers, the red cards are positive and the black cards are negative. For fractions, the lesser card is the numerator and the larger card is the denominator…and they can or must reduce! For a real challenge, turn the fraction to a decimal or percent…use estimation. Are you starting to see lots of possibilities?!

This will be a bit of chaos when you first do it, but once students understand the movement, they can do it well.

And remember, if you let an energizer go on too long, you deserve what happens! This should not be more that 10 minutes. When you stop it and they are begging for more, you know you have a winning strategy for another time!

This is another strategy from Kathy in Tahoe. Can you see why and how her students excel at Math?!