What's Your Problem? Activity

3.1 based on 17 ratings
Updated on Aug 5, 2013

Critical thinking is an extremely important math skill. Challenge your child to put on his thinking cap in this game! Players may use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to create problems and arrive at the values on answer cards. Anything goes, as long as it's mathematical! Your child will need to use mental math to combine numbers in a variety of ways. He'll be using more computation than with flash cards, and he'll improve his problem solving skills at the same time.

What You Need:

  • Deck of playing cards with face cards (jacks, queens, kings) removed
  • At least two players
  • Paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Deal five cards to each player.
  2. Place four cards face up in the center of the table. These cards are the answer cards.
  3. Players must select two or three cards from their hand that, when combined using any math operation, equal the number represented by the cards in the center of the table. The selected cards are their problem cards.
  4. After players have selected their problem cards, they should show off their problems by placing the cards face up in front of them. Give the players a minute or so to examine other players' cards.
  5. Explain that players who don't have the right cards to form an equation will sit this round out.
  6. Then, tell them that all of the players still in the game should take turns explaining the equations they created to arrive at the value of one of the center cards. Each player who has successfully created an equation earns a point.
  7. To start the next round, players should discard the cards they used to create equations and replenish their hands.
  8. After 3 rounds featuring the four center cards as target values, they should be discarded and replaced with four new cards.
  9. Discard the cards players used to create their equations and then have the players draw new cards to replenish their hands.
  10. Play until the cards have run out. The player with the highest score wins!