Primary/Junior (Age 6 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

Primary: Number Sense

  • Use the properties of addition and subtraction, and the relationship between addition and subtraction, to solve problems and check calculations.

Junior: Number Sense

  • Use the properties of operations, and the relationships between addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, to solve problems involving whole numbers, including those requiring more than one operation, and check calculations.


  • Two to four students and the teacher meet in a group.


  • One standard 52-card deck


  • Each child starts with a 3 x 3 grid with one card in each place (nine cards total).
  • The goal is to reduce the value of cards by swapping them for cards of lesser value.
  • Each player takes turns swapping a card from their grid with one in the discard pile or from the deck.
    • Aces = 1; Numeric cards = face values; Queen and Jack = 10; King = 0; Joker = -5.
    • If a child gathers three identical cards in a vertical column the value of the column becomes zero unless there are three jokers which would reward the player with a score of -15.
  • To start, children simultaneously select two of their cards to flip up and leave all other cards in the grid face down. The other cards remain unknown until they are swapped out.
  • The dealer flips the top card of the deck face up and lays this next to the deck in a discard pile.
    Students take turns choosing to draw a card from either the deck or discard pile.
  • Then, students decide to:
    • Use the card by switching it with a face up or down card in their grid.
    • Or discard the drawn card if it is not useful.
  • The play continues until one person wants to lock in their grid. They can signal this by saying “lock” on their turn.
  • Once a player declares lock, they forgo their move, and everyone has one more turn before the game is over.
  • After everyone’s final turn, each player turns over all their cards and calculates the total.
  • Score the hands by adding up the total in each column, and then add the totals of each column.
    • E.g., column 1 = 0 column 2 =20 column 3 = -3 → Total score = 17

Look Fors

  • Do children make strategic decisions about swapping the cards from their grid to obtain the lowest total?
  • ​Can children accurately total their score?

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