Speeding: A mental computation lesson with cards


This is another 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 continually build on their mental computation skills while playing with cards. This game could also be used for subtraction, doubling, halving and many more. Just be creative.

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)



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

Speeding – Rules:

  • Select one of each of these cards (A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • Shuffle up these cards and arrange in a line (face down) on the floor
  • Explain to the children that the idea of this game is to add the numbers as you turn them over and to quickly get to 55.
  • Make a point that all of the cards total 55 and show them by adding out aloud.
  • Remind students that they must ‘verbalise’ what they are doing.
  • The idea is to get to 55 the quickest and beat your opponent.
  • The winner is the person with shortest amount of time.
  • Advise that the other partner will need to be checking what their opponent is on to avoid any cheating.
  • This is a game for pairs


  1. Allow children to break up into pairs 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 added quickly and list these down on your board somewhere.
  2. You could make an adding/subtracting/doubling 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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