Mental Math Game: Modified Go Fish

Mental Math Game: Modified Go Fish
Mental Math
Game: Modified Go Fish
If students know the pairs of one-digit numbers that add up to particular target numbers,
they will be able to mentally break sums into easier sums.
Example: Since it is easy to add any one-digit number to 10, you can add a sum more readily
if you can decompose the sum so that it includes pairs of numbers that add to 10.
7 + 5 = 7 + 3 + 2 = 10 + 2 = 12
These numbers add to 10.
To help students remember pairs of numbers that add to a given target number, we have developed
a cooperative variation of Go Fish as well as a competitive variation. We recommend that students
play the cooperative version with each other in groups of 2–4. If you choose to use the competitive
version, we recommend having a caring adult play with each individual student. The adult can
build the student’s confidence by allowing the student to win as many times as the adult feels is
necessary. We do not recommend that students play the competitive version with each other.
The Cooperative Game
Object of the Game: To make and lay down pairs of cards that add to 10. The number of pairs
to be made by the team depends on the number of players:
• 2 players must make 9 pairs
• 3 players must make 12 pairs
• 4 players must make 15 pairs
Materials: a deck of cards for each pair or group
The player to the left of the dealer starts the game. To decide the first dealer, pick a student at random.
Player 1 selects one of the cards in her hand and asks Player 2 for a card that adds to 10 with the
chosen card. For example, if Player 1’s chosen card is a three, she asks Player 2 for a seven.
If Player 2 has the requested card, he must give it to Player 1. Player 1 puts the resulting pair
down immediately. If Player 2 doesn’t have the requested card, he says “Go fish,” and Player 1
picks a card from the draw pile. If this card adds to 10 with a card in Player 1’s hand, she lays
the pair down right away.
If Player 1 has no cards left, she takes a card from the draw pile.
Now it is Player 2’s turn to ask for a card from Player 3, and so on. On each turn, players ask for
a card from the next player or pick one from the draw pile. On each turn, players may also set
down any extra pairs in their hands.
Mental Math—Teacher’s Guide for AP Book 2.1
Take all the tens and face cards (J, Q, K) out of the deck. The dealer gives each player 6 cards,
puts 12 cards face down into a draw pile, and sets any remaining cards aside (these will not be
used). If players have any pairs of cards that add to 10 (e.g., ace and nine, two and eight, three
and seven), they place these pairs on the table before play begins. If any player is left with
no cards at this point, that player takes a card from the pile.
Play ends when the draw pile runs out. At the end of the game, players are allowed to put down
any pairs that remain in their hands. The team wins if, together, they have made the required
number of pairs between them.
Scaffolding: Some students have trouble sorting their cards and finding pairs that add to 10.
If this is the case, give the student only three cards, two of which add to 10. Ask the student to
find the pair that adds to 10. After the student has mastered this step, repeat the exercise with
four cards, then five cards, and so on.
You can also give a student a list of pairs that add to 10. As the student gets used to the game,
gradually remove pairs from the list so that the student learns the pairs by heart.
The Competitive Game
Play as above with the following changes:
• The draw pile is not restricted to 12 cards. After dealing 6 cards to each player,
the dealer puts all remaining cards into the draw pile.
• Play ends when one player lays down all of his or her cards. This player receives four
points. Players then receive one point for each pair they have laid down. The goal of
the game is to score as many points as possible.
• Players get another turn if the player from whom they request a card has it.
Different Target Numbers
The competitive version of the game is easily adaptable to different target numbers: simply tell
students what number pairs must add to. With struggling students, start with pairs of numbers
that add to five. Take all cards with value greater than four out of the deck. Each player should
be dealt only four cards to start with.
NOTE: The cooperative version of the game is more difficult to adapt to different target numbers
because it is trickier to ensure an exciting game with a close to even chance of winning or
losing. Doing so requires determining an optimal number of cards to deal to each player, the
number of cards to put in the draw pile, and the goal number of pairs. We have not provided
the details for doing so.
Mental Math—Teacher’s Guide for AP Book 2.1
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