24 Game, Single Digits, a Card Game for Teaching Arithmetic

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts
Date Posted: 1/2/2022

For decades, teachers drilled American school children using flash cards that gave simple arithmetic problems. The advent of inexpensive electronic calculators in the 1970s made it possible to do much routine arithmetic automatically. To teach school children the meaning of basic operations, new devices were introduced, including this form of flash card. In the 24 Game, the answer to the problem is always 24. A player’s task is to find out how numbers can be combined in simple arithmetic operations to reach this result.
According to the instructions, players select 12 to 24 cards to place in a pile at the center of a table. A player who sees a solution to the top card touches it. If his or her solution is correct, the player wins the card. Once it is taken, the next card is in play. The combinations on the cards are classed as easy (one white dot), medium (two red dots) or difficult (three gold dots). Once all the cards have been played, players add up the point value of their cards, with one point for each easy card, two for medium cards, etc. The original set reportedly had 24, 48, and 24 of these kinds of cards. This example has only 14 easy cards, 34 medium ones, and 23 difficult ones remaining.There are also two flat paper sleeves, each of which holds a card. The sleeve covers one quadrant. When cards in sleeves are used, the goal of the game becomes finding one number that can make 24 on all of the cards (ignoring the numbers covered by the sleeve). A complete set includes four sleeves. This set also includes an instruction leaflet.

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Instructional Strategies