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Card sharp

Playing cards are packed with maths potential. They are low tech, low cost, tactile and stacks of fun when used with a sprinkling of creative thinking. Practise times tables by dealing out eight rows of eight cards face up and play I Spy.

Two or three children sit around the grid of cards and you call out: "I Spy with my maths eye...42".

The idea is that children look for cards that are next to each other which multiply together to make that product. The first to spot the target number keeps the two cards from the grid. Play continues untill all the cards have been taken. The player with the most cards is the winner.

Another game is Prime Time. Use the number cards 1 to 9 from each suit and shuffle. Each player is dealt five cards with the rest placed on the table. Take turns to pick up the top card from the pack. The aim is to make a prime number less than 100 with your cards. These are placed on the table. Continue to play untill all the cards have been used. The winner is the player with most prime numbers.

John Dabell is a numeracy consultant and teacher trainer

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