Many parents use ‘flash cards’ as a way of encouraging the learning of math facts. These usually include 2 unhelpful practices – memorization without understanding and time pressure. In our Math Cards activity we have used the structure of cards, which children like, but we have moved the emphasis to number sense and the understanding of multiplication without any time constraints.
One deck of math cards (see handout)
- The aim of the activity is to match cards with the same numerical answer, shown through different representations.
- Lay all the cards down on a table and ask children to take turns picking them; pick as many as they find with the same answer (shown through any representation).
For example 9 and 4 can be shown with an area model, sets of objects such as dominoes, and the number sentence. When students match the cards they should explain how they know that the different cards are equivalent. This activity encourages an understanding of multiplication as well as rehearsal of math facts.