Thursday, 8 August 2013

It's War!

Early this week our class declared war. Well, not really but it was fun pretending.  As part of a whole school 'Maths Games Day' we ran an 'Addition War' stall and decorated it with genuine army gear (for which I must thank my dear friend +Adrienne Kajewski). Aside from our stall looking awesome...

Our class ROCKED the day with awesome attitudes, about the event and more importantly about maths!

My co-teacher is, amongst other things, the school's maths co-ordinator so this event was her baby. She did a great job. The school gym was split in half with dividers and each half was set up with tables around the perimeter (oooh look at the maths language). In the days/weeks preceding Maths Day each class chose a maths game to learn and then teach the rest of the school.  (Our class tossed up between three games but the competitive nature of most of our kids - and both teachers if I'm completely honest - meant that War was always going to win.) Over the course of the day each class was rostered to visit the gym and learn the games. Each class also rotated through student 'experts' to man their stalls.

The range of games the classes presented was great. The 'expert' helpers from each class really stepped up and were wonderful ambassadors for their class. Our kids went to town with our 'theme' and presented to the stall with war painted faces. (Between you and me, the war paint was my strategy for quickly determining who had already had their turn as an 'expert'... I painted them just before their alloted time.)

Have you ever played Addition War?   It's simple really: 
Our 'take home' instruction slip
  • Remove jokers from a deck of cards and evenly distribute the remainder amongst players (the more players the more challenging the game). 
  • All players place their top card on the table face up.
  • All players compute the total of the cards' value (2-10 = face value, J-K = 10, A = 11) and call out the answer.
  • The first player to call out the correct answer wins those cards and places them to once side.
  • Play continues in this manner until player run out of cards.
  • The player with the most cards is the winner. 

This game is pretty easy to differentiate in both directions. For students who are struggling: reduce the number of players; remove specific cards (I'd start with the aces); provide scaffolding support (posters with rainbow facts etc.) for starters. For high fliers: instead of addition try multiplication; have each player place down two cards and add the resultant double digit numbers; have each player place down two cards and subtract the lowest resultant double digit number from the other. 

Disclaimer: our student teacher introduced this game to our class and taught them how to play.

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities;
Standard 2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
Standard 2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies
Standard 3.5 Use effective classroom communication
Standard 4.1 Support student participation


  1. I love the explicit reflection on differentiation . It (differentiation)works so well in the game environment without being obvious or singling anyone out. P.S.-You're welcome!

  2. Thank you! Games are great for so many reasons, the ease of differentiation is just the sprinkles on top of the cream on top of the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. :)