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# Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics - Activities (page 4)

U.S. Department of Education
Updated on Feb 17, 2011

#### Card Smarts Variations for All Grades

Games with number cards can help children develop strategies for using numbers in different combinations by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.

##### What You Need
• Sets of number cards, 1-10 (you can make your own using heavy paper or index cards)
• Pencil and paper
• Coin
##### What to Do

Here are some games that you and your child can play with number cards:

• Number Sandwich With your younger child, review the numbers 1 through 10. Make sure that he knows the correct order of the numbers. Sit with him and shuffle and place two sets of number cards in a pile between you. Have him draw two cards from the pile and arrange them in order in front of him, for example 3 and 6, leaving a space between. Then have him draw a third card. Ask him where the card should be placed to be in the right order-in the middle? before the 3? after the 6?
• More or less? Sit with your younger child and place a shuffled set of number cards between you. Flip the coin and have your child call "heads" or "tails" to see if the winner of each round will be the person with a greater value card (heads) or a smaller value card (tails). Then each of you will draw a card. Compare the cards to see who wins that round. Continue through all the cards. When your child is comfortable with this game, change it just a bit. Divide the cards evenly between the two of you. Each of you places the cards face down and turns over one card at the same time. Have your child compare the cards to see if his card is more or less than yours. If his card is more than yours, ask him how much more. If it is less, ask how much less. The player with the greater or smaller value card (depending on whether heads or tails was tossed) takes both cards. The winner of the game is the player with more cards when the cards have all been used.
• Make a number This game is for your older child, and can be played with family and friends. Give each player a piece of paper and a pencil. Deal each player four number cards with the numbers showing. Explain that, using all four cards and a choice of any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, the player must make as many different numbers as possible in two minutes. The player gets one point for each answer.

Learning to use the special functions of calculators can expand children's knowledge of many arithmetic operations, help them to recognize number patterns and increase their ability to reason mathematically.

##### What You Need
• Calculator with counting function
##### What to Do
• Give your child a calculator that is appropriate for his age (one with large, easy-to-read keys is especially helpful). Show him how he can make the calculator "count" in sequence for him. (For most calculators, this is done by pushing a number button, then the + sign, then the button for the number to be added, then the = sign: for example: 1 + 1 =. To make the calculator count in sequence by adding 1, keep pushing the = button: 1 + 1 = 2 . . . 3. . . 4 . . . 5 and so on). Give the calculator to your child and have him try this, starting with 1 + 1.
• When your child is comfortable with this function, have him explore number patterns such as 2 + 2 =, 5 + 5 =, 50 + 50 = and so forth.
• Next, show your child that he can use the same procedure to subtract-by substituting the - sign for the + sign: 50 - 1 =, or 100 - 5 = . Encourage him to explore other patterns.
• Let your older child learn about negative numbers by seeing what the calculator when they count down from 0 (for example, 0 - 2 = ).
• Create number pattern puzzles for your child to solve. Try the following:
• Write a sequence of numbers that follows a pattern, such as 3, 6, 9, 12. Ask your child what number comes next. Have him explain what the pattern is (counting by 3s).
• Have your older child fill in missing numbers in patterns, such as 43, 38, ____, , ____, 23, ____, 13. Ask him what the pattern is. (subtracting by 5s)
• Have your child create number patterns for you to identify.