Friday, September 5, 2014

Pirate Day Math Games

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Avast, me mateys ...  I spy a silly holiday on the horizon! "Talk Like a Pirate Day" approaches, September 19th, to be exact. So, to quote ... myself, I guess ... as teachers, why would we let such a high interest day slip by without squeezing a bit more learning into it? The proverbial spoonful of sugar, if you please!

Here's a set of number cards you might like to use that day, or whenever! Keep reading for four ideas for math games that use only the cards, with few or no additional materials.  Print up several sets of the cards to use for these games.  ** If color ink is a concern, blacklines are included. If your students color materials for games and centers, sometimes they get a bit more careful about taking care of them afterwards, and that's always a good thing! 

Click here or on the picture to download the cards.

...and here are the games!

1) Walk the Plank!  This is a game for two to four players, but with enough extra cards you could probably use it in a small group lesson. Put all the cards face down on one pile.  Players take turns turning over the two top cards and adding them. If the sum is even, she keeps the cards. If the sum is odd, it's time to "Walk the plank!" - put the cards on the discard pile. The first player to accumulate ten cards is the winner.

2)  One, Two, Three, Flip!  Shuffle the cards and deal equally to two players. Players each put their cards face down on a pile in front of them. On the count of "One, two, three, flip!", both players turn over their top two cards and subtract the numbers. The player with the greater difference takes both cards. Variation: The player with the lesser difference takes both. Older students could multiply or divide the numbers.

3)  Pirates' Bounty  The difficulty level on this one is easy to adjust ... trade just pennies for nickels, or pennies to nickels to dimes, ... or right on up through quarters to one dollar! You will need a big pile of pennies, plus additional coins according to the level of the game. Put the pennies in the center of the table, along with a face-down pile of the pirate cards. Players take turns turning over the top card and taking that number of pennies. Play continues with taking pennies and trading up until the goal amount is reached. Easy-peasy coin review!

4)  Mind Reader - It's All About Five! Deal five cards to each player. Put the rest on a face down pile in the center of the table. Players hold and see their own cards but don't show them to the other player. At all times during this game, each player must have five cards in his or her hand. Player One tries to guess any card in Player Two's hand by naming addition facts.  Player 1: "Do you have 6+2?", Player 2: "No, I don't have 8", or "Yes, I have 8". If the answer is yes, he gives the card to Player 1, who places it face up on the table in front of him. Then Player 2 takes another card from the pile to keep five in his hand. Players take turns guessing until one player has five cards laid out in front of him.

You can find lots more pirate math games at levels from K-3, at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

If you're not into pirates, or maybe you'd just like four more ideas for easy games with number cards and another set of free cards, stop by my post at Teaching Blog Round Up for these monster number cards!

You can also just download them here by clicking on the picture below!

Happy Teaching!


  1. Oh, how fun! I'm glad you shared this on Manic Monday.
    Artistry of Education

  2. Did you see my free "Talk Like a Pirate Day activities on CF Linda- these would be great with it. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.
    LMN Tree

  3. I grabbed the Monster cards, and I'd love the pirate cards, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to down load them. Clicking the picture just shows me a JPEG, and I can't find any other link. Can you help me out?

    1. Of course, Laura! I've emailed them to you. Sorry for the inconvenience!


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