A Mathemagician’s Game for Making Ten

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

Tuesday afternoon, my second grade 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.  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.  Awesome “trick”, right?  🙂

14 Comments

  1. Amy B

    Cute story and GREAT activity!!!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Amy

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Always good to hear from you, Amy! 🙂

      Reply
  2. T Bell

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure! 🙂

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      He’s an adorable kid, Erin!

      Reply
  3. MathLady

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You’re so welcome!

      Reply
  4. Beth Korda

    I love that he had to share his trick with you. Cute story. Love the activity.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Isn’t it great, Beth? So easy!

      Reply
  5. Chaya Phillips

    This is a great story! I have a student who has wanted to play with cards this whole week, but it wasn’t in any of his math station tubs. I am going to surprise him with this game tomorrow. He is going to be be thrilled!

    Reply
  6. Tara

    I used this game with my second graders and they were thrilled. I let them take cards back to their class to show off their magic. They also got to take a set of cards home and share it with their parents. One of them even came back and said he taught it to his dog! Thank you for sharing. This is definitely a favorite

    Reply
  7. Heather

    LOVE IT!!!

    Reply
  8. Mary Ann Harala

    I will have my kids also do subtraction problems with the cards. Face cards can be any number I want to focus on. Thanks for the idea.

    Reply

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