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5 x 5 Game by Sara Van Der Werf

If you are looking to engage students in a fun classroom game, look no further than Sara Van Der Werf‘s amazing 5 x 5 game. It is a relatively low-prep game that only requires a set of printed game boards and a standard deck of playing cards.

5x5 game

As soon as I read Sara’s post, I knew I needed to file it away to use on one of those random days when I wanted a filler activity that is still very much math-y.

Last week, I finally got a chance to use the 5×5 game with my students.

Cards laying on desk from playing 5 x 5 game from Sara Van Der Werf.

My statistics students are working on designing and implementing their own surveys.  They are practicing different sampling designs and trying to avoid introducing as much bias as possible in their results.

 It’s been super fun to listen in on their planning as they critique each other’s projects.  Many of my students have chosen to do a simple random sample, and I told them on a certain day that I would give them the list of all the students in the school (or the students in the grade they had chosen).  

It just so happened that the copy machine decided to break that very same day.

Student work playing 5 x 5 game.

So, I had to scrap those plans and keep my stats students occupied somehow.  My stats class is notoriously hard to keep on task because a fair number of them are seniors and there is no end-of-instruction exam at the end of the year.  

But, they quickly got into this game and became super competitive!  My students also noted similarities between this game and the train game.

The best thing was I could throw it together at the last minute because Sara already has made images to explain how the game is played.  I just cut and pasted them in my SMARTBoard file from her blog post.  

All you need is a standard deck of cards with the face cards removed to play the 5 x 5 game. You can also use these playing cards to play 31-derful which is always a hit during the first week of school or anytime during the school year.

I’m not going to rewrite out all the steps of playing because Sara already did an awesome job of explaining them!

5 x 5 Game Explanation on Smartboard

I had my students play using dry erase boards because I was throwing this together at the last minute.  They drew their own 5 x 5 board, but it was super time consuming.  They all agreed it would be better if they had a template to use next time.  

Blank Template for 5 x 5 Game

Sara includes a sheet of game boards that you can print out for the 5 x 5 game, but I decided to make a giant game board to use in the future with my favorite dry erase pockets.

If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.

Free Download of 5 x 5 Game Template

Here’s my printable dry erase template for Sara Van Der Werf’s 5 x 5 Game.  

5 x 5 Game Dry Erase Template (PDF) (2396 downloads )

5 x 5 Game Dry Erase Template (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (1115 downloads )


Wednesday 10th of February 2016

I love this! Got it from Sara earlier this year and used it right before Christmas break with my classes. Really fun, great for all levels.

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