When I was a campus-based math instructional coach, my office was across from the 2nd Grade pod. One year, one of the teachers had a student who benefitted from leaving the classroom for brief periods of time, so it was not unusual for him to “run errands” that required him coming to my office.
This post contains affiliate links, which simply means that when you use my link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, and I only link to books and products that I personally recommend.
One afternoon, my buddy, Dominion, burst into my room to show me a magic trick! He held out a deck of cards and gave me the old line, “Pick a card, any card.” He told me to look at my card, but keep it private. I looked, and it was the 8 of clubs. We set it, face down, off to the side. He then proceeded to tell me that we needed to lay down all the other cards, face up, in an array. Once we had them all laid out (I noticed there were no face cards), he told me that we would take turns picking up pairs of cards that combine to make ten. As you can see in the picture, he chose an ace (1) and a 9. Each time we picked up the cards, we had to say the fact. His words, not mine! Kudos to his teacher for clearly communicating and reinforcing her expectations for mathematical discourse. We could also take the 10 card, but we had to say, “10 + 0 = 10”. We took turns, and the cards began to disappear. Finally, we were down to one card, a 2. Dominion proudly told me that he could now guess the card I had chosen. With great fanfare, he told me it was an 8. I played my part and dramatically said, “Oh my gosh! It’s magic!” Dominion rolled his eyes at me and said, “No, Ms. Boucher, it’s MATH! Eight and two make ten.” It was all I could do to keep a straight face.
Great “trick” right? While we were playing for combinations for ten, this game can easily be adapted for combinations of any number. You just need to manipulate the cards you’re using. If, for example, you were playing for combinations of seven, you’d use the Ace through 7 cards only.
Imagine how engaging this would be as a homework assignment. Give students a deck of cards and ask them to show someone at home the “magic trick.”
Looking for more games played with a deck of cards? Check out this post.