Make 10: A card lesson to build number facts


This is a great mini-lesson that allows students to have fun while learning in maths. The idea is simple… Teach them a card game and let them practise. With more and more practise, your students will have an intricate knowledge of number and will easily calculate a variety of problems. The game can easily be adapted to make 21, make -5, etc… Have fun with it this week in your class.

Australian Curriculum Links:

  • Explore the connection between addition and subtraction (ACMNA029)
  • Solve simple addition and subtraction problems using a range of efficient mental and written strategies (ACMNA030)
  • Solve problems by using number sentences for addition or subtraction (ACMNA036)


  1. Start children off on the floor in a circle and show how to play the following…

Make 10 – Rules:

  • Remove all the picture cards and 10s from a deck of cards and shuffle.
  • Once shuffled, layout 10 cards (facing upwards so you can see the numbers)
  • Explain to the children that the idea of this game is to ‘Make 10’ any way they like using any mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Make a point that the ‘Greedier you are in this game, the better it is for you’
  • However, when you take some cards from the lineup, you have to ‘verbalise’ what you’re doing in your head (THIS IS GREAT FOR AUTOMATICITY!)
  • The idea is to get as many cards as you can.
  • The winner is the person with the most cards at the end of the game.
  • You can play the game in pairs, but threes works as well.

Game example:

After your 10 cards have been laid out, model how to take a turn by adding 2 cards together and verbalising what you did. E.g. “I know that double 5 is 10” or “I know that double 5 is 10, so if I add 6 and 5 that will be 12 and I take one more away to make 10”.

  1. Allow children to break up into pairs/threes and begin playing the game.
  2. Reiterate the need to verbalise what it is that they are doing as you rove around.


  1. Conclude by asking students to discuss some of the ways that they made 10 and list these down on your board somewhere.
  2. You could make a ‘MAKE 10’ wall if you want for other students to refer to.



  • Encourage the use of anecdotal notes here and record ways to make 10.
  • Initial responses for the ‘Make 10’ wall to show which students are using different strategies.


  • 1 Pack of cards per pair of students
  • Maths books and pencils



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