Beacon Lesson Plan Library

At War With Multiplication

Shannon Safriet


Many children may have played War with cards before, but this lesson adds a little twist. The children will be practicing their recall of the multiplication facts while playing cards!


The student recalls (from memory) basic multiplication facts and related division facts.


-Decks of cards; one deck for every two children.
-Copies of quiz (in the associated file)
-Seconds hand on a clock or a watch


1. Obtain one deck of cards per two students. (Helpful hint: If you purchase a multi-pack of cards that are the same color, place stickers on the cards. For example, I took a deck of cards and placed a gold star sticker in the corner of each card. Then for the next deck, I used a blue star sticker on each card. This way if the cards get mixed up, it is easy to see which ones go together!)

2. Duplicate enough copies of the quiz for your students. The quiz is in the associated file.

3. Decide how you want to break your children into groups of two.

4. Be sure to be familiar with the game.


Day One:

1. Separate one deck of cards into two piles – one pile with cards 2 through 10 together and one pile with all the others (jacks, aces, etc.). You will use only the cards 2 through 10 to play.

2. Gather class together and explain that today they will be playing a game, but will need a quick review first.

3. Call out a few of the easier multiplication facts (3x5=15, 2x9=18) and let the children raise their hands to answer.

4. Pull one student to the front (choose one that is fairly good at multiplication) and practice the game with him or her. Explain to the class as you play.

Directions for game:
A.Shuffle the 2 through 10 stack of cards a couple of times and then deal them evenly between you and the chosen student. The class is watching at this point.
B. At the same time you will both flip two cards face up.
C.You call out your product and then the child calls out his or her product.
D.Whoever has the highest product takes both sets of cards and places them beside them.
E. When one player runs out of cards he or she will pull the ones that have been won, shuffle them and begin again.
F. Keep playing until one player completely runs out of cards.
G. Should both players have the same product, a WAR will begin!
H. Each player would leave their original cards down and place three cards face down and then flip over two new cards. The player with the highest product this time wins ALL the cards!

5. After maybe five times of turning cards over, pretend you have a war with your selected student. Explain this to the class as you demonstrate it.

6. Break the class into groups of two students each.

7. Pass out a set of cards to each group.

8. Have the children separate the 2 through 10 cards from the others.

9. Instruct them to begin playing for the remainder of your 30 minutes.

Day Two: (Do not repeat demonstration of the game.)

10. Tell the children that they are going to play Multiplication War again today and after they finish, you will give them a quiz on their multiplication facts 2 through 10.

11. Separate the kids into groups of two (You may choose to mix up the groups this time.). Pass out the cards and let them play for 15 – 20 minutes.

12. After 15 – 20 minutes, pull them back to their seats and have them get ready for the quiz.

13. Explain that the quiz will be timed and they aren’t to look at it until you tell them to do so.

14. Pass out a quiz to each student.

15. Have them write their names on the back.

16. Tell them to “BEGIN”.

17. After one minute, say “Time is up, put your pencil down.”

18. Collect the quizzes to be scored.


While students are playing the game, the teacher will observe the children to see if they are working cooperatively and recalling multiplication facts.

Score the quiz for accuracy in order to determine if the children can recall (from memory) basic multiplication facts.

This lesson formatively assesses only the multiplication part of the benchmark.


This lesson can easily be extended for both high achieving and low achieving students.

For high achievers, add in the face cards and let them stand for the numbers 11, 12, or even 13.

For lower achieving students, the cards can be separated into two groups, one with cards 2 –5 and then the others can be set aside. You may even choose to let these children use a multiplication fact card (see weblink). You can extend the time on the quiz or modify the quiz to only include the facts of the cards they used (for example, facts 2 –5 would be on the quiz if they only played with the 2 – 5 cards.)

Web Links

This is excellent for worksheets and multiplication charts!

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