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Group Card Game
This game is best used as guided practice after a lecture, or as a review activity
  • Cards with paired symbols (the left and right parentheses, absolute value, etc.)
  • Cards with single symbols (radicals, operations signs, fraction bar, etc.)
  • Cards with numbers on them.
Note: Here is the template for the cards for this game. More game templates can be found at
Establish Competing Teams
Put students in pairs according to ability level. Very weak students should be paired with students whose ability is about average for the course. I would not pair them with the very best students since the weaker students have a tendency to rely on the one with the greater ability to do all the work. Let each pair draw from a number stack. The two highest numbers compete, the next two highest compete, etc. This will give you groups of 4 composed of 2 competing pairs. Or you may wish to group pairs again accoding to ability.
Game Play
Pairs may again draw at their table to decide which pair "deals". The dealing pair selects a number from the number stack and places it face up on the table. The receiving pair will draw: 4 symbols (note that the 2 paired symbols count as one choice) and 4 numbers. They must use at least 5 of the symbols and numbers they selected to form the number "dealt" to them. Before they begin work, have them "deal" to the other pair and repeat the process so that both teams are working at the same time. You may or may not wish to put a time limit on the play; I suggest that you make the rule: once one pair is finished, the other pair has 2 minutes to finish.
Each pair presents its solution for the other pair to check. If team 1 gives a correct response, the pair a 5 points. If the response is incorrect and the team 2 catches it, that team received 3 points. If team 2 questions the response, but team 1 was correct, team 2 loses 1 point.
Observation—The instructor will circulate through the room listening to conversations and watching students work. The instructor should refrain from giving any help except leading questions. The instructor will also act as mediator where there is disagreement.
Written—Each pair should submit a sheet with the final answers they presented. If their response was incorrect, they should write an explanation of where they went wrong and what the correct outcome of their expression would have been.
Shared Grading Rubric—Share the rubric with students before play begins so that they understand what is expected. Add additional criterion appropriate to your class.
Criterion 3 points 2 points 1 point
Works with partner

Actively discussing problem

Suggesting alternatives

Asking questions

Making comments

Not participating
Participates in competition

Listens carefully when other team presents

Works problem given by other team

Watches partner work problem

Offers some suggestions

Accepts answers without question
Written Work

Solutions written carefully and clearly

Mistakes correctly explained and corrected

Solutions are neatly presented

Corrections are complete

Work is sloppy and incomplete