games,  mathematics

Card game for practicing multiplication and order of operation

Share Button

“Mom, let’s play more math games,” my eight year old said and I wondered what games to suggest that would pose some level of challenge to him.  I came up with the basis for this game and he helped me refine the rules.

Make the Number Game Rules


– Use number cards, no face cards.

– Choose a target number. I recommend 100 as a starting number.

– Each player draws 7 cards. At the end of every turn, draw-up till you have seven cards.

– Players may have a piece of scrap paper for scribbling down ideas while they play.

– Players have to try to use the cards in their hands to reach the target number. If the target cannot be reached, the player can put down cards up to any multiple of 10 and try the next turn to get to the target number. Numbers on the cards can be added, multiplied, subtracted and divided. Players must write out their equation as they play it.

Example play:This "Make the Number" game challenges players to use add, subtract, multiply and divide using the seven numbers they draw in order to reach 100.

Say my hand consists of a 7, 2, 8, 5, 1, 5.  I might choose to play down the 8, 2 and 5 writing: (8 + 2) x 5 = 50. Or I could write (8 + 7 – 5)(5 * 2) = 100 to score a point.

Maybe my son draws a 9, 1, 4, 4, 6, 3, 8. He might choose to play down the 9, 1, 8, 6, 3 writing: 9(8+1) + 6 + 3 = 90. Or he might choose to play 6, 4, 9 writing 9 (6 + 4) = 90. Or better yet he might write (8 – 3)(9 + 1)(6 – 4) = 100 and win a point!


– A player recieved a point upon reaching the target number.

– Once the target number is reached all cards that went towards creating that number are placed in a discard pile.

– Once there are no more cards in the draw pile the points are counted up.

Share Button


  • Elisabeth

    Oh, great idea! I love playing math games with my girls. They have fun and it makes the needed repetition for mastery so much easier on everyone.

  • Shad

    This reminds me of a game I tried to play, I think it was

    It’s like your card game in that you try to reach a target number, but it uses dice for number and for operators, so instead of choosing any operator you have to choose one that’s available. It doesn’t have players looking for independent solutions and discarding hands without a solution, instead each turn is used to categorize one of the available numbers or operators as required for the solution or as not required, and the game ends when the last symbol is added to the solution. I tried to play it before I understood math well enough to understand the game, I think if I had tried to play a few years later it would have been great.

    I think I see an error in your example play: (8 + 7 – 5)(5 + 2) = 70 ≠ 100

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.