Find Your Match

Primary (Age 6 – 9)

Curriculum Goal

Primary: Number Sense

  • Read and represent whole numbers up to and including 50.
  • Describe various ways whole numbers may be used/referenced in everyday life.
  • Compose and decompose whole numbers, up to and including 50, using a variety of tools and strategies, in various contexts.


  • Teacher works with at least two children.


  • Deck of cards with face cards removed (Ace = 1)


Easier Version:

  • Lay cards face-down randomly in a 5 × 8 rectangle.
  • Explain that the goal is to match cards of the same number. Colour/suit do not matter.
  • For each round, students turn over one card and try to find a matching card.
  • Introduce the advanced version, if appropriate.

Advanced Version:

  • Explain that the goal is to find the numbers that add/subtract to a certain sum/difference (chosen from a number between 2-20).
  • Give an example, such as 5. Ask students for different number pairs for that sum (e.g., if the chosen sum = 5, players should aim for Ace + 4 or 9 – 4; if the chosen difference = 3, players should aim for pairs such, as 6 – 3 and 1 + 2).
  • When all pairs for the predetermined difference have been found, facilitate a discussion about how quantities can be composed and decomposed.
  • Challenge the students play the game in pairs.
  • Afterward, hold a discussion to extend student thinking. Here are some sample questions:
    • How did you know these pairs were correct?
    • What strategies did you use to add/subtract the two cards together?
    • What techniques did you use to remember where the cards were?
    • Why would there be more possible pairs for a larger difference (i.e., 10 versus 5)?

Look Fors

  • Do the children select the exact card that they were looking for?
  • Are students counting the number of symbols on the card? If so, are they using one-to-one correspondence? Are the students recognizing the numbers on the card?
  • Are the children using their fingers to count? Are the children counting up or counting on when they choose their pairs?
  • Do the children use certain memory strategies to determine if the pairs create the predetermined sum?
  • Do the children use mathematical language to talk about the cards?

Related Lessons

Compose numbers up to and including the number 50 using different strategies.

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