Card Game Roundup – PreAlgebra Games
by Trudy Bortz and Josh Rappaport (Author of the Algebra Survival Guide)
Now, more than ever before, children are expected to start learning algebraic concepts in elementary school. While that’s a great idea in principle, the reality is that many elementary students get both stressed and confused by the abstractions and letters of algebra.
It is important, therefore, to give children a gentle introduction to algebraic thinking.
ln Singing Turtle’s Card Game Roundup: PreAlgebra, though, children get just such a gentle introduction. The eBook features three mathematical games that actually teach important concepts, and they are loads of fun, to boot. That means that you, the educator, can use these games to actually teach — not just to review or practice.
ln the first game, “Annie Oakley,” children literally have a “bucket of fun” as they try to throw a sponge ball into an actual bucket from various distances. By recording the results of their tosses and plotting their results, children explore patterns in the data, a pre-algebraic skill.
In “Hunting for Grub,” children play an engaging card-collecting game, winning cards by
creating number sentences. In making these number sentences, children generalize patterns in addition and subtraction and thereby learn how to generalize in an algebraic manner.
Finally, in “Fix the Fence,” children face the challenge of repairing a fence that has one broken “fence post.” By playing this game, children learn about number sequences. Their work and play foreshadows the algebraic skill of building and analyzing number sequences.
Each game comes with its very own “Storyline.” That’s a tall tale that places the game in a Wild West context, thus sparking children’s imagination.
And the games are flexible, too. Depending on the group you’re working with, you can choose whether children play cooperatively or competitively.