Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Practice Integers with a Deck of Cards!

First of all, I know first hand that buying materials for your classroom can get pricey and adds up to quite a bit by the end of the year.  This is why I try to look for ways to save money on items for my classroom.  I also try to look for items I can use in more than one way.

Now, onward to using a deck of cards for integers!

I found the best deal at Dollar Tree!  You get TWO decks of cards for $1!  Fifty cents a deck is a real bargain. Of course, if you can get them donated, that would be even better.

Here is what the package looks like if you happen to have a Dollar Tree near you.  If not, I'm sure you can find them at other types of dollar stores.

They are glossy and pretty durable.
I usually take out the Jokers, since I have no use for them.

This is how I use a deck of cards to have my students practice addition of integers.  My students call it Integer War and it is a game for two players.

First, I tell students that all face cards (King, Queen, Jack) have a value of 10.  All blacks are positive and all reds are negative.

For example, 6 of diamonds (red) has a value of (-6) and a Jack of spades (black) has a value of (+10).  I then instruct students to use addition to solve.

Step 1: Divide the entire deck of cards between two players.

Step 2: Both players take a card from the very top of their stack and place them down next to each other.  Be sure to tell you students that peeking is not allowed!  They MUST take the card from the top of the stack.  Now they have created an integer problem!  This one shows (+10) + (-8).
Step 3: The first student to shout out the answer takes both cards.  The coolest part is that they can use the symbols on the cards to create their "zero pairs" if they are still struggling solving it mentally!  Since face cards don't have symbols, you can have students take all face cards out for the first few times they play this game.  Then have them play the game with the face cards included as they are gradually building integer fluency.

Here are some more examples:

(+10) + (+7) = (+17)

(+10) + (-10) = 0

(-4) + (+10) = (+6)
(-10) + (+8) = (-2)
(-10) + (-10) = (-20)

It's that easy!

I think the colors really help students determine positive and negative values and understand when they have to add or subtract the values.

I usually have my students seated in groups of four. So what I do is have two students play against each other and the other two students use a calculator to check the answer.  That way they know who stated the correct answer first.  Then the pairs of students trade tasks.  It's a great way to build integer fluency and students end up discussing when answers are incorrect.  They teach each other!  How awesome it that?!

Take it to the next level!  After students understand directions and the goal of this game, change it up and have them subtract the integers.  I usually have them write down the problem when they use subtraction.  Eventually, I also have them practice multiplication of integers.

So you actually get THREE activities that will have your students practicing with integers using only one deck of cards!

WARNING!  When students are playing this game, you will hear them gradually get louder as they shout out the answer, because they want to win!  They get really excited.  Student engagement at it's finest!  :D

Here are some of the activities I have available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Integer Fluency Circles

Exponents with Integers

Christmas Tree Negatives and Positives - Mixed Computation with Integers This one is FREE!

I will be posting other ways I use decks of cards in my classroom at a later date.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for looking.  I hope this was helpful!

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