2017 Summer Game #4: Bead Trading

Do your children enjoy money? My kids do! They would always compare their stacks of one dollar bills after Christmas or birthdays and see who has more.

I used their concept of dollar bills to introduce this next game. We called it “Bank”, although, in the Math Card Games book you will see it listed as Bead Trading, game A7.1.

I start by explaining to my children than if they have ten $1 bills, they could trade those ten bills to one $10 bill. They understood this concept easily.

That is what this game is about. Your children will learn and understand place value and when to trade.

To start, you will need to use Side 2 of the AL Abacus and the Basic Number Card deck. You can have any number of players, but each player will need to have their own abacus.

Next, you will want to determine the winning goal. Do you want to be a Champion with 100 beads? Or do you want to race to Grand Champion with 1000 beads??

The deck of basic cards is placed face down in the center of the table. This is a race game, so you do not need to take turns. The players move as fast as they can. Each person draws a card, looks at the number, and moves that many beads on the wire. For example, if the player draws a three, he will move three beads in the ones place on the abacus.

Once a player has entered ten beads in one place value, he can trade.

Move 10 beads down from one place value (ones shown above) and one bead up to the next place value columns (tens shown here). To keep it competitive, we made a big deal out of it by yelling, “Trade!” to show the other players that they were moving closer to the goal.

If the goal has not been reached when all the cards have been used, the players simply reshuffle and place the deck face down in the center of the table and continue to play.

Once a player reaches the goal, they shout out their new title: “Champion!” or “Grand Champion!” depending on the score goal.

Variation – for independent play

I have had my children play this game independently to see how high they can get their score. They have their own independent goals such as getting to 1000 by the end of an hour, etc. Of course, you can modify this game to fit your children’s needs.

So why is this game so important? Because so many children (and some adults) don’t realize that 24 is more than just 24 ones. They miss the concept that 24 is two tens and four ones. This understanding is the foundation for numbers. Math is a science of patterns. And this game provides the place value patterning of the numbers which is the base for the number system.

If you want to know more about place value, we have Dr. Cotter’s research on place value and pre-recorded webinars (click on Number Sense near the bottom of the page) available for you.

If you have enjoyed learning about this game, you may be interested in checking out the other math card games shared on our blog page.

If you have a favorite game that you enjoy playing or if you would like to request a specific game to be included in this blog series, please comment below. We would love to hear from you!




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