Close to 20

I’ve been playing a new game with students the past 2 weeks.  I adapted it from I game I found in Teaching Children Mathematics.
Materials – A deck of digit numeral cards (0-9).  You can also use 1-10 cards or 10-frame cards to meet the needs of your students.

Close to 20 – Objective – each player or team uses 3 of their 5 dealt cards to find a sum close to 20.  The difference between the sum and 20 determines the score for that round.
  1. Deal 5 cards to each player or team of players.
  2. Players use 3 of the cards to get a sum as close to 20 as possible
  3. The difference between the sum and 20 determines the score for that round
  4. Record the equation and score on the scorecard
  5. Collect the 3 cards that each student used – they keep the 2 cards they didn’t use
  6. Deal 3 new cards to each player or team
  7. Lowest score wins
  8. If students are having difficulty finding the sum with numeral cards, try using 10-frame cards
I ask each student to explain how they arrived at their answer. Playing this game has allowed me to observe strategies students are using.  Do they make 10? Do they use doubles? Can they quickly add 10+ or 9+? Are they always counting by 1s?  It has also been interesting to see if students know the difference between their sum and 20.  Do they understand what difference means?
I’ve attached scorecards.  I have also played this with a group of students and just put everyone’s scores on the whiteboard.
Need an easier version?  Try dealing 4 cards to each person or team and see if they can use 2 cards to get close to 10.  Use numeral cards or 10-frame cards depending on the needs of your students.   Close to 20 Scorecards
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