Tag Archives: making tens

Solitaire Tens

I’ve been reading About Teaching Mathematics by Marilyn Burns and it is chock full of great ideas. I came across this game in my reading today and made a few tweaks. It is ideal for home schoolers because kids can play it on their own.

Start with a deck of cards and remove all of the face cards. The aces are ones in this game.

Shuffle the cards. Flip over 7 in a row. If there are any tens or any pairs of cards that make ten remove them and place them face up in the discard pile. I like to keep mine organized by pair so you can easily see all the different ways to make a ten.

Deal new cards to replace those in the row of seven.

Continue dealing and making pairs. If you ever get a whole row of 7 with no possible pairs, start a new row of 7 above. These cards can be paired with each other or with the first row.

If you don’t make any mistakes, no card will be left without a pair. It is a great way to test for errors! And it is kind of fun to watch the deck of cards gradually disappear into pairs of ten.

Fishing for Tens: A Math Game for Elementary Students

I’ve been really into math games lately, they’re a great way to allow kids to practice skills and facts without whipping out a worksheet. A quick search for “math games” will produce a lot of results…but with mixed levels of quality. A good game should incorporate math skills as a fundamental part of the game and should allow for reasoning. ┬áSo a game where they have to rapidly answer a math fact in order to shoot down an alien doesn’t cut it for me.

Here’s one I have been having a lot of fun with. The rules are very simple, it is based on Go Fish! However, instead of making pairs you have to make tens. Making tens is the back bone of so much mental math in elementary school.

  1. Start with a deck of Uno cards (I like these because the numbers are nice and big).
  2. Take out all the non-numerical cards and the zeros too (because you can’t make tens with a zero since there is no 10 card).img_19143. Everyone gets 7 cards to start with. The first player starts by putting down any pairs of cards in their hand that make ten. Then they ask another player for a card that they need in order to make ten. So if I have a 7 I’ll ask for a 3, etc. Pairs are laid down as they are created. If you ask someone for a card they do not have they tell you to “go fish” and you draw from the pile of remaining cards. If you draw the card you were looking for you get to go again.img_1915

4. After the first player has gone the second player lays down any pairs of ten they were dealt. They then begin asking other players for the cards they need.

5. If a player runs out of cards they may draw 7 more.

6. The game is over when everyone is out of cards and there are no more cards in the pile.


A great feature of this game is it can be played by children of two different levels. I recently played it with a 3rd grader and a kindergartner. The kindergarten student made matching pairs to practice her number recognition.


And it worked out just fine having the third grader making tens at the same time. After a few rounds students memorize the pairs that make tens without having to think about it!

Hip Homeschool Moms