Sunday, February 3, 2019

How to Have a Decimal War Card Game

Right before our February vacation, my fourth graders start decimals.  To help them understand the concept of decimals, I always find it's easiest to equate them with money.  The Coin-Fraction-Decimal chart shows that 50 is 5 tenths just as it's 5 dimes, and .05 is 5 hundredths just as it's 5 pennies.  They understand that; it's those pesky zeroes that throw them for a loop! 


To practice seeing decimals concretely (and relating them to fractions) we play Decimal War!


The game is easy if you have decimal cards.  Notice that in fourth grade we use units that are divided into tenths and hundredths (there are also thousandths in this set which are great for kids who like a challenge).


The basic directions for Decimal War are:
  1. Shuffle the cards. 
  2. Deal the cards so that each person has the same number of cards.  Note:  the number of red cards (tenths) and green cards (hundredths) each person has does not matter.
  3. Players should NOT look at their cards.  
  4. Both players flip over their top card at the same time.
  5. Determine who has the most shaded area.  That person wins both cards.
  6. In the event of a tie, both players will place their next 3 cards face down, and choose 1 of those to simultaneously flip over.  The winner takes all 8 cards.
  7. The object of the game is to finish with the most cards.

In this regard, the game is just like the traditional card game of War.  But now comes the math part!


Each player needs to create a T chart with their names at the top.  They write the card they flipped over in decimal form.  Finally, they need to write < > or = in the center to compare who had the greater amount.


This type of War Card Game is easily adapted to fractions, negative numbers, numbers of varying place values, coins, or anywhere that comparing or ordering numbers enters into your curriculum.  I love when I can reuse a format and save time teaching new directions (if the particular class loves it).

If you don't own decimal cards, I had a request to create a printable game.  If you would like a version that includes the cards and is ready to print, you can get a Decimal War Card Game in my TpT store.













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