Okay, I would name it if I could. Really. However, I cannot for the life of me remember what they called it! This blog post is for Whitney, as there is no way I could explain the game in 140 characters or less. The game is from Everyday Math, as taught to me in my last session at OTA/Encyclomedia on Wednesday.

The only materials required are a deck of cards, a pencil and a piece of paper. The pencil and paper are both to keep score and to work out problems. Students are divided into teams. They recommended teams of 3. I had teams of 2, 3 and 4. None of them had issues, and in fact they worked quite well together.

First, have the team draw a card. This card is the target. It is what each player is going to want their cards to equal when they are done. In this example, the answer will be 8.

Next, each player receives 5 cards. The student can use as few as 2 or as many as 5 cards in their answer. They may add, subtract, multiply or divide in any order using these numbers in order to reach the target number.

For example, this student could use the Jack (11), 5 and 2 to create the answer 11 + 5 = 16, 16/2 = 8. For older kids, they should write or say the problem using order of operations and parenthesis. It should look like this: (11 + 5) / 2 = 8. This particular answer uses 3 cards.

Another answer is to use the Queen (12), Jack (11), 5 and 2 in this manner: 12 - 11 = 1; 1 + 5 = 6; 6 + 2 = 8. This method uses 4 cards, of course.

The student who uses the most of their cards in the answer gets a point. If they both use the same number of cards, they both get a point. You might also choose to award points based on the number of combinations the students come up with instead of the number of cards used. I also offered a bribe to get them to stretch their minds a bit. Every time a student used all 5 cards in their answer, they received a piece of candy. I just bought a box of Mike & Ikes. 1 Mike & Ike for a 5 card answer.

As a side note, I made an accidental enrichment extension when I forgot to take the Jokers out of the decks. We all know that Jokers are wild, right? Can't change the rules now, so that is just what they were in our game. That meant that every time they had a Joker they could win a Mike & Ike. For example, exchanging the 2 for a Joker in the above set of cards gives you this:

Queen (12) x 5 = 60; 60 / 4 = 15; 15 - Jack (11) = 4; 4 x Joker = 8. Solve for the Joker. Joker = 2. Or 4 + Joker = 8. Solve for the Joker. Joker = 4. Oh, wait. Doesn't that last part look an awful lot like 4x = 8 or 4 + x = 8? WHAT? You mean they did Algebra?!! Yes, that's right. My 3rd graders spent the morning doing Algebra quite happily. All it cost me was a few extra Mike & Ikes. A small price to pay.

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