Anna’s Cards

One of this term’s pupils was Polly.  Polly’s one of life’s less confident pupils, and she doesn’t much enjoy practising multiplication tables and the like, but she does enjoy using Anna’s Cards.


I put down this card on the table:

Anna's Cards 1

So Polly starts counting: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8”


Then I turn the card over so it shows:

Anna's Cards 2 So the count now continues: “7, 6, 5, 4”


And then I replace the card with:

Anna's Cards 3

So we now go “6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18”


And I now display:

Anna's Cards 4

“28, 38, 48, 58, 68”


So you’ll see the idea is that I can change the level of difficulty and indeed the pace as much as I like.


Here are some of my basic set of cards:

Anna's Cards 5

And of course, their reverses:

Anna's Cards 6


So the game is infinitely flexible and adjustable to the skills of who you’re working with – I guarantee I can challenge even blasé 10-year-olds if I introduce a  +7 / -7 card, and of course my set also includes cards such as:

Anna's Cards 7


In fact, you can use the cards with almost any group of any size and ability.  I once reduced a group of secondary school Heads of Department to near-collapse by successive use of the + 0.1 / – 0.1 ,   + ⅓ / – ⅓ ,  and followed up with the  + π / – π  card !


I got Anna’s Cards from Anna Lewis’ delightful book “Discovering Maths with 4-7 Year-Olds”, which is an inspiring book about approaching early mathematical learning through problem-solving and enquiry.  Some years back I had the good fortune to work with Anna on a project, and you couldn’t hope to meet a more talented and nicer person.  There are a few copies of her book available on Amazon (UK) for just a penny, so I’d advise anyone to grab one while you can.





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