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Let’s Play 25

So I had planned on talking about something else entirely for this blog post, but I stumbled into a good idea today.

I’ve been looking for ways to practice adding integers in my Transmath classes.  We’ve done a few days of gentle practice and drills, but homework turnout was kind of poor, and I know repetition wasn’t the answer in this case.

I’ve played 123 Switch from teachforever.com, but in my experience, the students didn’t do a good job checking each other and incorrect equations were often left on the board.

I also found a card game called twenty-five, which seemed more my speed because there was one specific goal in mind (to hit 25).

So taking both of these games into account, I made something up that I think worked well.

My version of 25 has one student as the ‘dealer’.  (In my experience, this is whoever knows how to shuffle)

The dealer passes everyone their first card and they flip it over.  This is their starting number.  They all write it down.  Reds are negative, Blacks are positive.

Then the dealer goes around in order and one card is dealt and played at a time.  When a student gets their card, they need to decide if they want to add, or subtract the card from their total.  Then they need to write that equation down with the proper signs.  Once they decide, play passes to the next student.

They are forced to pay attention because they quickly realize that if they take note of what cards have passed, they can introduce strategies.  If your total is 22, you draw -4, but know that three Aces (worth 1) have already come up, it is probably smarter to go with 22+-4=18 instead of 22–4=26.

Like the second game linked, each student is shooting for their own pile of 25, and they each have a really long expression.

When a student wins, they raise their hand.  It’s easy to check their work, and if they are incorrect, it is pretty easy to circle where they went wrong, give them their real total and send them back into the game.

One group decided that Jokers were ‘lose a turn’, and the class voted to decide that if all of the cards are passed out, the person closest to 25 wins.

Surprisingly, once I removed the idea of a shared board space, all of the students enjoyed looking at their own hands and making decisions.

It was a good day.

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