Math Solitaire for Two Activity

3.3 based on 17 ratings
Updated on May 23, 2013

Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned game of solitaire—especially when you don’t have to play alone? Engage your third grader in this version of the classic game and she will get lots of practice using mental math to solve addition and subtraction problems. An added bonus is that she will increase her speed when identifying basic math facts and her self-confidence will soar! So, put away that drill sheet of addition and subtraction facts and have a little fun playing Solitaire for Two with your third-grader. The results—and the final score—may shock you!

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards
  • Paper and pencil for keeping score

What You Do:

  1. Begin the game by shuffling the deck and dealing 20 cards to each player in the following manner:
    • Deal 4 cards face-down to each player. Position the cards straight across in a row.
    • Deal 4 rows of 4 cards face-up to each player. Line them up under the previous rows as you would in solitaire.
    • After dealing, there should be 12 cards left in the deck. Divide them evenly and give each player a face-down deck of 6 cards.
  2. Player 1 begins with his first column (moving left to right) and mentally adds all of the face-up cards in the column. The goal is for your total to be as close to 20 as possible. Face cards (Ace, King, Queen, Jack) count as 10.
  3. Once the cards in the first column are added, Player 1 must choose to turn over the remaining card in the column or the first card in his deck of 6. Once he turns over the card, he must choose whether to add or subtract the card in order to have the column total be as close to 20 as possible. For example, if Player 1’s face-up cards total 14 and he chooses from his deck and turns over a 10, the column total is 24.
  4. Player 2 follows the same process with her first column. Once Player 2 gets a column total, the players compare answers. The player with the total closest to 20 “wins the column”. In the event of a tie, mark it as a tie. Play continues moving left to right across the columns until one player wins 3 out of 4 columns to win the game!

In the event of a tie for the grand total of columns (i.e. both players win 2 columns), players add their remaining face down cards (cards in their decks and those at the top of the columns). The highest total wins!

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.

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