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Evaluating Functions War

This fun and engaging evaluating functions activity puts a mathematical spin on the class war card game. This free printable pdf game is sure to elevate any algebra lesson.

Are you ready to play a game of evaluating functions war?

evaluating functions activity war card game with graphing calculator in background

Skills Covered in Activity

I created this for my Algebra 1 students, but it can be used for any middle school or high school math class which covers evaluating functions from a table, equation, or graph.

Students should have prior experience working with evaluating expressions including expressions with exponents and absolute value bars.

student looking at evaluating functions war activity
students pointing at card during evaluating functions activity war card game

Instructions for Evaluating Functions War

Game Preparation Instructions

1. Decide how many students will be in each group.

2. Print one copy of page 2 (evaluation cards) for each student in each group. Printing these on different colors of paper will make it easier for students to sort out which cards belong to who at the beginning of the game.

3. Print one copy of pages 3-5 (function cards) for each group.

4. Laminate (if possible) and cut apart.


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

Game Play Instructions

1. Shuffle the larger function cards (pages 3-5) and place face down in the center of the playing area

2. Distribute the smaller evaluation cards to each player. If they are printed on different colors, each player should get 9 cards in a matching color. If cards are not color-coded, distribute 9 cards to each player. Each player should shuffle their deck several times.

3. Turn over the top function card and place it in the center so all players can see.

ziplock bags of cards for evaluating functions activity war card game

4. Each player turns over their evaluation card and evaluates the function at that value.

5. The player with the highest value wins each of the other players’ evaluation cards. Cards that are won go on the bottom of the stack.

6. Continue play by turning over a new function card in the center of the playing area and having each player turn over a new evaluation card.

7. If two or more players have identical evaluation cards that evaluate to the same highest value, each of those players should turn over a new evaluation card to act as a tie breaker between those players. If two or more players have non-identical evaluation cards that evaluate to the same highest value, a new function card should be turned over to act as a tie breaker between those players.

8. Play ends as soon as one player runs out of cards. The players who still have cards are considered the winners of the game. Another round may be played if time allows. (This rule keeps all students engaged throughout the game.)

student pointing dry erase marker at graph card during game of evaluating functions war activity

Supplies Needed for the Game

Evaluation Cards (9 to a Page)

  • Print one page per player
  • Best results if each page printed on a different color
  • Example: If students will be playing this in groups of three, use three different colors when  you print these.  If you are printing multiple sets, each group of cards can use the same three colors.
function evaluation cards for evaluating functions activity
student using calculator while playing evaluating functions war game

Function Cards (6 to a Page)


page of graph cards for evaluating functions activity


Page of equation cards for evaluating functions activity


page of tables for evaluating functions activity

Free Download of Evaluating Functions War

Evaluating Functions War (PDF) (2645 downloads )

Evaluating Functions War (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (1248 downloads )

If you download the editable Publisher version, you’ll need to also download these free fonts: Qarmic Sans, Rockwell, and ArmWrestler.  The PDF version will preserve all of the fonts and formatting.

More Versions of War Card Game

Over the years, I’ve created several different versions of this war card game that you might be interested in checking out!

Emily Barnhold

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Thank you so much for making your resources available to all teachers. I have used many of your worksheets. They are great activities and tools for students to use. I appreciate the time and work you put in to make them available :)

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Awww...thanks Emily for the sweet message! I appreciate you reading my blog and using the activities with your students!

Marla Barkman

Saturday 26th of September 2020

Hey, Sarah! Do you have any ideas for "playing" this virtually? Desmos? Google Slides?

We are discouraged from doing live group activities at this time. And trading cards just doesn't seem like a good idea right now. My students have learned so much from this game that I just hate to forego it.

Same with Function Auction....any ideas to make either or both of these virtual would be appreciated.


Friday 15th of May 2020

very nice activity. I really like this..


Sunday 20th of October 2019

This is such a cool game, I would like to try it next year in our functions unit. Thanks for sharing


Sunday 16th of October 2016

I played this with my algebra 2 classes, and it worked really well. One thing we did run into is that the graph of the horizontal line leads to a never-ending tie. I just pulled that card and it went great for the rest of the day.

Thank you for sharing!

Comments are closed.