Cheryl McAllister

ED 306 – Project Based Teaching of Math

Summer 2001

Name of activity: Family Train

Grade level: 1 to 2

Source of activity: Dumas, E. & Schminke, C. W. (1977) Math Activities For Child Involvement. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Materials needed for using the activity: This game can be played with chalk and a chalkboard. It can also be played with ‘train cards’ made from stiff tag board, self-adhesive vinyl, and overhead or non-permanent markers.

Directions for the teacher: This game can be played by two teams of students in a whole class activity at the chalkboard. Small groups or a single student could also play the game using the ‘train cards’, by instructing the student(s) to have the train checked by the teacher when it is assembled. The game is played until all the addition and subtraction facts for a particular number are found. Obviously, for subtraction, there are an infinite number of such facts, so the teacher should limit the size of the minuend to make the set of subtraction facts finite. At this level 1 + 3 and 3 + 1 are considered different answers.

Directions for the student:

Chalkboard version

1. The teacher draws two train engines on the board (one for each team) and writes the same numeral on both.
2. The first player for each team draws a train car attached to the team’s engine and writes an addition or subtraction fact on the car that equals the number represented on the engine.
3. The next player writes a different addition or subtraction fact.
4. Play continues until a player believes all of the addition and subtraction facts for that number have been used. That player draws a caboose on the train.
5. The team whose train shows all combinations for the engine number wins.

Train card version

1. The teacher or one of the players writes a numeral on the engine card.
2. Each player takes a turn writing an addition or subtraction fact on one of the cards.
3. Players continue until all of the possible addition and subtraction facts for that number have been used.
4. The teacher verifies that the train is complete.

Examples of Train Cards: