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Using Playing Cards and Dice To Teach Math

I began playing math games with my students using regular decks of cards.  However, over the years, I developed my own cards for several important reasons:

  • Regular cards do not have a zero, and zero is much too important in our base ten system to leave out.  Turning a queen or king into a zero is confusing for most children.
  • While teaching first grade, I discovered the ten-frame.  It allowed children to easily count the dots, if they needed to do so and  anchored the students to ten – a very important learning tool with our base 10 numbering system.  It is easy to see how many more are needed to make 10 if you have a 7, or 5, or 9, etc.
  • And lastly, these cards help children see if a number is odd or even.  If there is a dot that doesn’t have a partner, it is an odd number.  If all dots have a partner, it is an even number.
  • Masters for the these special cards can be found on the CD with directions for printing, laminating, and cutting out.


    5

Dice

(random number generators)

All that you will really need are regular dice.  They are really cheap and easy to find at stores such as The Dollar Tree, the 99¢ Store, etc.  For the most part, you will need two dice.  There are a couple of games that require more.  One of my favorites is Oops! which requires five dice.

I also like those 1 ½ inch foam dice for younger children. You can get 12 for $4.99 (plus shipping and handling) at the Oriental Trading Company.  They make counting the dots much easier.

Some games need parent-made dice.  I buy those small wooden cubes from a crafts store or an educational supply store and mark them according to the instructions on the game.

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