# War!(HUH!) What is it good for? (Absolutely lots in Math!)

With my family on the go so much during the non-lazy days of summer, we need easy games to entertain the tiny humans that don’t require mass amounts of attention from the adults (who are often in conversation). Enter the game of War. This versatile game can be used for all age groups and can really keep your child’s skills in arithmetic in check during the “summer slump”.

How to Play (Basic Version)

1. Grab a deck of cards (I keep one in my purse and in the car at all times). You don’t have to, but I prefer to take out the face cards and jokers. Shuffle the rest and divvy out to all who are playing.
2. All players shove all of their cards into a “deck” and keeps the deck face down.
3. All players (at the same time to avoid cheating) flip the first card. The player with the largest value is the winner and takes all of the cards in the round.
4. If there is a tie (that is the largest value), those players place 3 cards on their original face down and flip the fourth card. Whichever player NOW has the largest value gets all of the cards from the round.
5. Continue playing until either a) one player has all of the cards; or b) you get sick of playing. The player with the most cards is the winner.

Additional Versions

• For younger players: Use only 2-5 from the decks and play with those. The game goes faster and they are working only with 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can use the aces as 1. Even better, use number cards or dot cards (see below for links). Print on cardstock (4 cards per number) or go online and buy a set.
• For any age: You can also play and whoever gets the smallest value wins. This is great for preK-1st graders!
• For students who need review with addition: Play two cards at a time and add them. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
• For students who need review with multiplication: Play two cards at a time and multiply them. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
• For grades 5-7: red cards are negative values; black cards are positive values. Flip over one card. If I have a red 6 and you have a black 2, you are the winner since positive values are always greater than negatives.
• For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and add them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
• For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and multiply them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
• For grades 6-8, use only values ace (for 1) through 5. Flip the first card; that is your base. Flip the second card; that is your exponent. The player with the highest value wins  the round.

Different Sets of Cards:

• You could probably look on Amazon for different card types, but I love the sets at 52 Pickup. They are of high quality and there are many different types ranging from dot cards to ten frames to cards that go through the thousands (so you can work on place value!)

https://sumboxes.com/collections/types?q=52%20Pickup%20Card%20Decks

# Which Is Bigger? Comparing Objects Without Quantifying

One of my threenager’s (yes, I said “threenager”) favorite things to do is go to the zoo. Particularly to see the alligators and caimans. As he watches these creatures I have a habit of asking, “Which is bigger?” or “Which is smaller?” These characterizations, called attributes, are often the first way toddlers learn to compare objects. From there, they begin to quantify (How much bigger? or How much smaller?) and realize there is a need for numbers when comparing.

Yet all too often, our smart little toddlers overgeneralize and decide that EVERYTHING has an attribute of “big” (or “small”). For example, my little will tell his older brother, “You are bigger than me.” But what does he mean? Does he mean he weighs more? Is taller? Is older? Has more body hair? Each of these measures has a different attribute. In fact, Vygotsky stated that the way in which we talk about quantities and the relations between them can have a strong impact on how children think about quantities. And quantifying each of these attributes requires a different type of measurement.

My point? How we communicate with our littles makes a HUGE difference in how they look at comparing and relating objects. Not everything is bigger or smaller. Start using different attributes and introduce them to a wonderful world of vocab that will help them articulate exactly what they want to compare. For example, you are at the grocery store getting apples. Yes, have her point out the colors. Yes, have her count as you put the apples in the bag. But take it one step further. As you are waiting in line, have her hold the bag of apples versus the bag of green beans and decide which is heavier. Or which has more items. Which item is longer. Which item is wider. You get my drift.

Mathematics is not just about numbers. It also relies heavily on one’s ability to compare, estimate and see relationships, with or without numbers. Number is simply an extension of more basic ideas about relationships between quantities. Even if your child doesn’t know their numbers, you can start comparing objects NOW.

Great reference for teachers of Pre-K and Kinder:Developing Essential Understanding of Number and Numeration, NCTM (2011).

http://www.nctm.org/store/Products/Developing-Essential-Understanding-of-Number-and-Numeration-for-Teaching-Mathematics-in-Pre-K-2/