War and 99: Two high interest card games to practice numbers

We’ve now been in class for about two weeks, and things are humming along.  In my novice class, we’ve worked on numbers off and on for a few days, and it was time to give numbers a purpose greater than page numbers, age, and telling time: a couple of good, competitive games.  In addition to giving us a practical purpose, it also introduced a level of fun and novelty that was a pleasant change of pace.  While neither game is linguistically complex, I maintain that they have earned a valuable place in our lessons, and the kids loved them and wanted to answer correctly in Spanish. That, my friends, is academic gold!  I hope you will find them helpful too.  The dollar store carries decks of cards, and after stocking up once, I’ve been able to use them for many other uses too.

War (adapted for class)

Each pair of students gets a deck of cards.  One student gets all the red cards, the other all the blacks.  They turn over one card from their piles simultaneously.  In the traditional version of the game, the higher card wins.  In our version, the person who looks at the two cards and calls out the sum of them in Spanish first wins.  We also play it with multiplication instead of addition.  In the event of a tie, rock-paper-scissors is the tie breaker.



Each group of 3-5 students gets a deck of cards, and someone deals 5 cards to each student.  The remainders go face down into a pile, and the top card is turned up in a second pile.  The player who starts selects a card, lays it on the pile, and calls out the sum of the two cards.  He then draws a card from the deck before the next player makes a play–speed is part of the strategy of the game.  The second player lays down his card of choice, and again, calls out the sum of the running total of the pile plus his card.  The goal is to be the last person who can play a card without the pile total exceeding 99.  In order to make this possible, certain cards have special values:

Ace = 1

4 = resets the pile total to 0 AND reverses the direction of play

9 = automatically sets the pile total to 99

10 = -10

Jack & Queen = 10

King & Joker = 0

all other cards are at face value

A key part of the strategy is to force the other players into a position where they have nothing that they can play.  Again, the total of the collective pile can NEVER go over 99.  Therefore, if player #1 plays a 9 card and calls out 99, and player #2 doesn’t have a 4, 10, King, or Joker to bring the total down under 99, then player #2 is out.

Finally, I have a Donors Choose project going now that is about halfway funded.  However, through Sept. 7, there are matching funds available if contributors use the code INSPIRE at checkout.  Would you consider sharing this info on your networks? The project is posted at http://www.donorschoose.org/project/aventuras-ambiciosas/1315429?utm_source=dc&utm_medium=project&utm_campaign=copyURL&rf=copyURL-siteshare-2014-09-project-teacher_2169490

As always, thank you.


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