Posted in Teaching Strategies, Uncategorized

A quick numbers game for K-6th graders: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

Teachers, I’ve got a fun number drill for your students. It’s practical and easy to prepare. You’re going to love it!

For a pretty pdf file of the instructions, go here (it’s free).

What’s great is that these cards are a really quick assessment tool.

You can easily see: Who knows this information? Who is struggling? 

 All you need for this is a set of cards for each student, zero through nine.  For your younger students, you’ll prepare the cards. Use a marker and make the numbers large, so they take up the whole card. Or if you have older kids, they can make their own decks..

Ideas for younger students

  • Have the students line them up in order. And that’s important, that they can identify the numbers and be able to put them in order. 
  • You say “Everybody grab your four.” Pull it down. (Don’t bother to have them hold it up because you know how it is. They’re going to have it backwards and so forth. It just takes too much time. We want this to be a fast, easy game.) 
  • Call out the numbers and be sure they pull them down, then put them back in order. 
  • Create larger two-digit numbers: teens, 20s 30s 40s, all the way up to 98. (The only problem: We don’t want to be doing 55, 44, 33, doubles of any kind because we don’t have two of each number.)

For older grade levels

  • You ask them to put them in order backwards.
  • You can hold up a number of objects or a card with a certain pattern of the dots on it,. They pull down the card that shows how many you have.  Say “One more” or “One less”. for example “ I’m going to say 8, I want you to go down one more” so they’re going to pull down their nine or” one less”, go down to the seven. That’s a really important concept for them to be learning.
  • They can be working in pairs. So one is the teacher, one is the student, then they can switch roles.
  • You can create a Math Center and use these cards
  • Teach addition and subtraction. If you say “three plus four”, they pull down their seven. “Eight minutes six”, they pull down their two. 
  • Teach multiplication facts. You say “Nine times five”, they pull down their 45…
  • Teach division
  • You could also make cards with the four operations on them.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Then you say “ 6, 7, 42”. They’ll pull down their multiplication card to show that they know the relationship of these three numbers. 
    • It’s really important for kids to realize that addition and multiplication increase the number,  division subtraction, the answer is going to be smaller. 

Storing the cards

These cards can be put all together with each student’s name on a plastic baggie. you can keep them in a bucket or in each student’s pencil box.

I hope you see how easy these cards are to use. They’re something that you can pull out anytime.  If you’ve got 5- 10 minutes of extra time, pull them out, have fun!

Next steps

Let me know which grade level you’re teaching and how you end up using these cards. And if you’re interested in quick strategies that will engage your students, email me at to book an hour with me and I guarantee you’ll leave with 15 more strategies to make your life easier.