- to make a math game that could be changed with more difficult problems as my son’s proficiency grows.
- a way that he could check his answers independently.
The result was Lock-and-Key Math.
You need 4 supplies for this activity:
Cardstock (print my 4-page PDF on it)
Thirteen 3” x 4” toploading trading card sleeves
Cut out the gray key silhouettes. Cut out each of the keys (yes, it’s a pain, but TOTALLY worth it). Take the keys to an office/copy shop to be laminated. Use thick lamination sheets and space the keys widely. Once laminated, line up the keys with each corresponding silhouette, using them as a guide for where to cut the lamination so the final result is a rectangle shape with the key floating inside it.
Put the silhouettes (or locks) inside the thirteen trading-card sleeves. Add addition problems to the keys with a fine-tip dry-erase marker. On the back of each key’s corresponding lock, write the answer on the sleeve with the marker.
Before my son played the Lock-and-Key Math game, we read Loreen Leedy’s Mission Addition. (I love Leedy’s books.) Because the book explains how to add numbers when they are stacked vertically (as opposed to 3 + 4 =), all the Lock-and-Key problems were written that way.
It’s time to play!
I put all the keys is a jumbled pile on the table and laid the locks face-down so the answers were visible. One by one my son picked a key, solved the addition problem, and found the sleeve with the answer. Then he flipped over the sleeve and slid the key into the lock. If he was right, the silhouette matched the key perfectly.
My son patiently and quietly worked through all 13 problems, matching each key to its respective lock. While I planned for him to play the game independently, I failed to consider how excited he’d be with each correct match!