Games are a great way to ease your fifth grader’s fear of new math concepts. Kids are always more willing to attempt a new skill when it’s presented in a fun, non-threatening way! “The Amazing Equation Race” is an interactive, fast-paced game that will make your child feel more comfortable with simple equations. Although the terms “variable" and “equation” are unfamiliar now, a few rounds will turn them into household names.
What You Do:
- Cut 3 sheets of paper into 12 strips. On each set of stips, write the following equations in black marker:
n + 2
n + 3
n + 4
n + 5
Cut 4 sheets of paper into 30 playing cards. On 7 of the cards, write the following:
On each of the remaining playing cards, write a value for n (the variable), up to 10.
n = 1 n = 2
n = 5 n = 4
n = 7 n = 6
When you are ready to begin the game, each player should get scrap paper, a pencil and 4 equation strips. Shuffle the playing cards and put them face down on the table.
Player 1 begins by picking the top card in the deck. If it is a variable, player 1 fills in the value for n on his first equation strip (solve on scrap paper).
equation strip: n + 2
player picks n = 5
5 + 2 = 7
Player 1 now has 7 points
If a player pulls an ADD or SUBTRACT card, he adds or subtracts the amount from his points.
The winner is the first player to reach 25 points.
Note: If your fifth grader’s score drops below zero, you may have to help her add and subtract negative numbers.
Extension: Save the game for the future when your child learns to solve equations with negative numbers. Just put a negative sign in front of some of the numbers on the playing cards.
Brigid Del Carmen has a Master's Degree in Special Education with endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders/Emotional Impairments. Over the past eight years, she has taught Language Arts, Reading and Math in her middle school special education classroom.