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Stacking cards review game

October 27, 2016

To review exponents we played a stacking game.  The idea was inspired by the blog mathequalslove.  Each group has a set of cards (made from index cards cut in thirds) .  Each card has a question on one side, and an answer on the other.  

To play the game, all cards are laid out with the answers (in this case, the simplified form of the exponent question).  One card is flipped to reveal a question.  Working together or individually (there are many ways to play!) we look for the answer.  The card is then flipped so the answer card is facing the question card to make a pile.  On the other side of the card you’ll find the next question to solve.  The cards are designed to all stack into one pile, which makes it easy to see if it’s been done correctly.  The final question that is on the top of the pile should match up with the answer on the card at the bottom of the pile.


Students can work together, or try it independently, they can try to do it as fast as they can, or they can take turns going around their group.

This game worked really well as a review of exponent skills for my grade 10 class before starting to discuss quadratics.  My grade 9s played this game as a consolidation step where peers worked to help others to work through the activity.

Tips for designing your cards

  • Answers should appear only once
  • If you are using variables make sure they appear on more than one answer card
  • Address possible misconceptions.  I was working on exponents of 0, 1 and also having a negative base e.g. -4^2 vs (-4)^2 and looking at exponent laws with a variable as the base.
  • Design your set of questions and answers.  
  • Make your cards.  Put question 1 on one card, then the answer on the back of the next card.
  • Your stack continues to be formed in this way until the last answer which will go on the back of the first card.
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