Early Years/Primary/Junior (Age 3 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Demonstrate an understanding of numbers, using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationships (#15).

Primary: Number Sense

  • Recall and demonstrate addition facts for numbers up to 10, and related subtraction facts.

Junior: Number Sense

  • Recall and demonstrate multiplication facts from 0 × 0 to 12 × 12, and related division facts.


  • Two to four students and the teacher will be sitting on the carpet in a circle or on a video conference chat.
  • Students should have previous experience with number magnitude (early years) or adding and subtracting (primary).


In-person version

  • One standard 52-card deck, number inclusion dependent on students’ level: i.e., A – 10 (early years) or A – 13 (primary)

Online version


Early Years:

  • Deal out entire deck of cards equally among students.
  • Players simultaneously turn over the top card of their deck.
  • The player with the highest card takes all played cards and places them at the bottom of their deck.
  • When two players turn over the same highest number, a war is launched – each player puts down two more cards, face down, then turns up a third card. The person with the highest card takes all the cards in that round.
  • The game ends when one player has all the cards.

Look Fors

  • Do the children know the magnitude of their numbers on the cards (early years)?
  • Can children read symbolic numbers (early years)?
  • What strategies do the children implement to determine the number’s magnitude?
  • Can children quickly determine which number is larger (early years/primary)?
  • Can children add or subtract two single- or double-digit numbers (primary)?


  • Player with the smaller number wins each round.
  • Addition War, Subtraction War, Multiplication War, etc. Players turn up two cards each round. Player with the largest sum (or difference, or product) takes all.
  • Face cards can count as 11, 12, 13.

Created by Yara Salloum. Adapted by The Robertson Program.

Related Lessons

Students challenge one another as they compare number quantities from 1-100.

A possible introductory activity, students practice their addition/subtraction skills playing this card game.

Share this lesson

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email