Gordon's Games - Start
(original copyright,1977, by Gordon R. Scott, under the name "Two-Up".)
INTRODUCTION, to Parents and Teachers:
Educational games such as these can change the work one must sometimes do to learn into enjoyable play.
For children, games can give immediate value to what
children know and are learning. They will be played with an intensity
not usually aroused by worksheets and flash cards.
Games also offer an early opportunity to learn to play fairly, and to win or lose, in a manner that will not offend playmates, in a spirit of good fun.
The nature of Gordon's Games allows children, from about age
four to nine, to use their knowledge of simple arithmetic as they work
out their own moves and check their opponent's moves. There are some
obvious and not so obvious strategies for winning that require the use
of memory and logical thought as well.
Of course luck is always involved to aid the less skilful.
Almost all the games can be played by two players using a set
of twenty cards in which the numerals 0 to 9 appear twice. In some
games it is possible to include a third or fourth player, but not
The blank card sets you'll need are inexpensive to purchase or easy to make. A call to a local store let me know that $7.50 Can. would have bought 200 cards, enough to make 10 sets, or enough sets for 20 children to play at one time.
I made my cards out of Bristol board sheets, a thick, stiff paper product that felt pen ink will not show through. The cards don't have to be fancy but you shouldn't be able to look at the backs and easily identify the card. I could have made them from the inserts in the nylon stocking packages my wife brings home.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the cards. Children
enjoy the games. They don't see them as work, or drill activities. They
ask to be allowed to play them. The games are great for free time at
school, for rainy or cold days when children can't go out, or more
structured use during Arithmetic period.
I have been a classroom teacher since 1960. Up until 1968 I taught classes from Grade 4 to 7. Since then I have taught Kindergarten to Grade 3, ages 4 to 9. I've majored in Math during the university years leading up to my B.Ed., and Early Childhood Education for my M.Ed.
The games were first started in the 70's. IÕve used them from K to Grade 3. Most of the games were first tried out on my own children, or my wife (who did the final edit on this booklet).
Some points to refer to:
1. For most of the games the players may choose to end their game in a way not described, and that is permitted.
2. Most games are more enjoyable when the player who scores a point
is allowed to keep the turn until a point is not scored.
This can be a big disadvantage in some situations, especially if there is a big difference in the abilities of the players. Like many of the rules, this can be changed.
3. The numerical goals required by many games must be chosen from within certain limits, but in some cases the limits can be changed to suit the players or time restraints.
4. Addition and subtraction games can be made more difficult by
taking out the zero cards. Similarly the ones cards may be taken out in
the multiplication games.
The range of goals is reduced if these cards are removed.
5. The games that involve matching, counting, and comparing will be described first. Ages that each might suit will be given and those for the youngest children will come first. The ages given are only estimates so don't be bound by them.
6. The basic addition game will be given next, in some detail. Adults intending to use any of the games after it should play this game first, or at least study it carefully.
7. There's a lot more adding games than subtracting games, but the adding games may require one to subtract.
9. Don't forget to look at Section E for other games and activities related to Arithmetic and Language skills, including some games for a large group.
If you have any comments, questions,
suggestions, please contact the author at one of the addresses given on
the home page.
I'm sure there are more games or variations yet to come.
I've tried to keep to the KISS principle (Keep it simple s _____) with this set of games.
They aren't high tech, but they are inexpensive and they require very little power and upkeep.
Making The Cards:
I used a 8 1/2 by 11 in. stiff and thick paper product that
was white on one side.
I cut it to make 4 strips across, and then cut 4 cards out of each strip, making 16 cards from one sheet. 20 cards are needed for one set in almost all the games in this book.
For younger children I doubled the size of the cards.
You will need extra cards. They get lost or damaged at times.
Sometimes you may want to add extra number cards to a set.
Make large numbers and put a line at the bottom of the card for 6 and 9. Don't let the line touch the numerals.
Don't worry about children not being able to read upside down. Unless you have some special cases, it is marvellous how they can stand on the opposite side of your desk and still read what you're printing.
For some sets I used a felt pen to mark the edge of a pack in a unique way so they were easier to find when they got mixed up with other cards.
A General description of Play (for most games) :
The cards are first shuffled thoroughly and then placed face
down in reasonably neat rows of four or five.
Shuffling can be a problem. I taught the children to push cards with their thumb, one at a time, off the pack into the other hand, one to the bottom, one to the top, until done. If they did this twice, and then again, moving several cards at a time, the cards would be quite well shuffled. Of course there's always the little person who knows how to shuffle like professional card dealers do.
The play usually consists of trying to earn a point by turning over two cards that can be used to perform an activity first set as a goal. For example, one card up is a 2, the other is 5. The activity may be to add them to make 7. If the goal was to make 7, then a point has been made.
If a point is scored the cards are turned back over in the same places, or taken away, depending on the game. The scoring player usually keeps the turn, but may have to set a new goal before continuing.
If a point is not scored the two cards are turned back over, in their original place, and the next player begins.
There are exceptions to these general statements but most of
the games have common rules. Children can move easily from one game to
Usually you will refer to The Matching Game, The Adding Game, The Counting Race, or The Bigger Number Game, Two Places.
Those underlined in the table of contents, p.5, are ones you should know.
Because luck is involved, adults or older children can play
the games and be beaten by young children.
A good way to introduce the games is for an adult to play with one child while the others watch.
(I always tried to win, and usually didn't, much to the amusement of all. You might say I've often been beaten at my own game. )
Contents: There are four types of games in terms of the number work involved:
A. MATCHING shapes of numerals B. COUNTING, putting numerals in order
C. COMPARING number values D. NUMBER OPERATIONS
The games are arranged in the order these activities would likely be introduced to children, but this is not rigid.
Approximate age levels are given for each age group, but nothing in this book of rules is written in stone.
Teachers and parents can change what they like if it will still work and be fair.
Children will sometimes change the rules slightly and this is fine if they agree on these changes before starting.
BEFORE turning to the game you are interested in, PLEASE READ THESE NOTES:
1. MOST OF THE RULES ARE FLEXIBLE.
2. Most of the games share similar rules. Where possible these rules will be described once in detail, and then only referred to in later games. You must be aware of this if copying a single game or set of games. This is to save pages.
3. Even if you are only interested in the games for older children it is best to go over the beginning games first. They are useful for children weak in more advanced skills, and are often referred to in the description of rules later on.
4. For most of the games, the players may choose to end their game in a way not described. For instance, a time limit may be set.
5. Most games allow the player who scores a point to keep the turn until a point is not scored. This can be a problem if there is a big difference in the players' skills, but this rule can be changed.
6. In the listings coming next, the approximate age will be shown as, eg., 4+.
7. With some of the games, it is possible for two children to play different games at the same time with the same set of cards. This may be useful at home where two children are not at the same level of knowledge, but it detracts from the possibility of both children learning from the others play.
REMEMBER, SOME TEACHING AND/OR LEARNING MUST COME FIRST!
Section A: p.6. Matching Game, 4+ p.6. Match a Goal, 5+
Section B: p.7. Counting Race, 5+ p.7.
Tens Race, 5+
p.7. Teens Race, 5+
Section C: p.8. More or Less , 5+ p.9. Bigger
Number, one place, 5+
p.9. Bigger Number, two places, 6+
p.10 - 11. *** ADDING GAME, 6+
p.12. Making Nines, 6+ p.12. Adding Game, 2 or 3 cards, 6+
p.12. Adding Game with plus ten, 6+ p.12. Adding Game with 3 cards, 7+
p.13. Adding Race, 6+ p.14. Adding to Fifty, 8+
p.14. Adding to Fifty Race, 8+ p.15. Fifty or Under, 7+
p.16. Subtracting Game, 7+ p.16. Subtracting Game, plus 10, 7+
p.16. Subtracting Race, 7+
p.17. Multiplying Game, 2 or 3 cards, 8+ p.17. Multiplying Game, 8+
p.18. Dividing Game, 8+ p.18. Dividing Race, 8+
p.19. Factors Game, 8+ p.19. Multiples Game, 8+
p.20. Suggestions for Fraction and Decimal games, 9+
Section E: p.21 - 24
Other games with cards, for the younger children, and class games for the older.
The class games on the last two pages were used during the
last five or so years in my classroom. Participation was very high and
the children looked forward to them.
I found that the time spent on these games was most valuable. What was learned in the formal lessons showed up quickly in the games.
The Spelling Game was so effective in creating a desire for, and pride in, good spelling that really formal Spelling lessons were needed only occasionally for 7 and 8 year olds.
I found The Spelling Game to be a good way to start every day, and the Arithmetic Game was sometimes a good way to end the morning, or the afternoon.
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