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It's in the Cards: Having Fun While Addressing Summer Learning Loss


As summer vacation begins, families typically welcome the break from schoolwork. But the end of the school year shouldn’t mean the end of learning. Summer learning loss can have real consequences for students when they return to school in the fall. The loss is especially evident in math. 

Researchers have found that on average students lose more than two months of math learning over the summer. How can parents help keep their children’s math skills sharp? The answer is in the cards!

The following games are simple, fun ways to combat summer learning loss. To play, all you need is a standard deck of cards. Visit our Eureka Math™ Card Games web page for detailed instructions about how to set up and play each game.


One More, One Fewer

In this game, players don’t take turns. Instead, they try to play out their cards as fast as possible by playing a card that is either one more than or one fewer than the card that is on top of the discard pile. Along the way, they work on fluency in counting forward and backward. 


Make Ten

This game builds fluency in identifying number compositions that make up 10, a key skill in mental addition and subtraction. Players have to search the cards for pairs that make 10. The winner is the player who ends the game with the most pairs.


Basic Number Battle 

Often called War, this old favorite builds fluency with numbers by having players compare them. During each turn, the player with the highest card facing up gets to keep all the cards in the playing area. The winner is the player who acquires all the cards or has the most cards at the end of the designated playing time. Our card games web page describes variations of this game that reinforce understanding of place value, addition, multiplication, fractions, and operation.


Hit the Target

This game reinforces understanding of basic operations and the order of operations while helping students exercise mathematical reasoning skills. Using the cards in their hand, players write mathematical expressions that equal a target number the dealer selects. The more cards players use in their expressions, the more points they earn. The player with the most points at the end wins.


Danielle Goedel is a curriculum developer for Eureka Math. After 15 years of teaching Grade 8 and Algebra I, Goedel joined the Great Minds® family in 2014 to help foster the mathematical confidence she saw in her students who used the Eureka Math curriculum.