If you have ever played the game “SPOONS” before, this is the same game, except with math concepts! I use this game every month during math centers in my classroom and it’s definitely become a student favorite.
I like to use this in my classroom before giving a test, quiz, or assessment. It really helps me see as a teacher which students need more practice or remediation and which students are ready to move onto a new concept. It’s also great for mental math practice!
GOAL OF THE GAME
The goal of the game is to get 4 cards in your hand that all equal the same number (4 of a kind).
Mix up all the cards and give each player four cards. Put the rest of the cards in a pile face down next to the first player. Put one less spoon in the middle of the table than people playing (if 5 people play, use 4 spoons).
The first player picks up a card from the pile and looks at it. They decide if they want to keep it (if it helps their hand) or pass it on to the next player (if it doesn’t help their hand).
You can only have 4 cards in your hand at one time. Tell students they cannot draw a new card until they have given a card away to the next person.
While the second player is looking at the card you just passed them, you choose another card. Don’t wait for them. This is a quick moving game!
If the second player isn’t ready for another card yet, you start a pile next to them just like the pile you are drawing from.
When someone gets 4 of a kind, they do not say anything out loud. They simply grab a spoon from the middle! Everyone else grabs a spoon too when they notice there is a winner (You will be surprised how long it takes some kids to notice–they are so into the game!)
The last person to notice is out. Everyone plays again except the person who is out (with 1 less spoon) OR I have kids keep score: everyone gets a point except the person who got “out”. You play again and the loser each game does not get a point. This way, no one is sitting around doing nothing.
ANSWER KEYS ARE INCLUDED
I print out the answer key pages and put them in a bag with the playing cards. And at the end of each game, I have the kids check the answer keys to make sure they do indeed have four of a kind. It is easy for them to tell exactly which cards they should have in their hand. If someone does not have four of a kind, they are “out” instead of the last person to notice the spoons.
DID YOU KNOW?
You can also use these game cards to play Go Fish, Memory Match, and Four of a Kind. You’re really getting four games in one! You can use Math Spoons to:
- practice a skill
- reinforce math facts
- for morning work
- as a math center
- after-school activity
- for early finishers
Here are some helpful tips you can perform as you play this math game.
- There are 3 ways you can print this: black and white to save on ink, normal with 4 cards per page, or my personal favorite: 2 pages per page which make the cards easier for students to hold and saves on ink!
- Each time a person receives a card from the person in front of them, they keep it or pass it on. If they keep it, they choose a card from their own hand to pass onto the next player. When cards reach the end of the circle, they get put in the beginning pile next to Player 1 to continue to move in a circular motion.
- My students pretend to keep passing cards even after they’ve picked up a spoon and are waiting for everyone to notice that the game’s over to make it even more fun!
- You don’t have to use spoons to play. Use spoons OR erasers, pencils, etc,–whatever works in your classroom!
Check out all of my Math Spoons Games HERE!
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