Cards to 24


In this activity students use a deck of cards (or create their own set of cards with numbers on) to play a version of the 24 game.  Students will use four cards and combinations of the four arithmetic operations to try to make a total of 24.

Achievement Objectives
NA3-2: Know basic multiplication and division facts.
Specific Learning Outcomes

use the four arithmetic operations to make number sentences, which total 24.

Required Resource Materials
Decks of playing cards


  1. There are many ways this game can be played, but the basic outline is that four cards are dealt and players are challenged to use the four numbers, in combination with the arithmetic operations, to make a total of 24.  For example if the cards drawn were 3, 5, 6 and 9, the solution could be;

5 – 3 = 2
2 x 9 = 18
18 + 6 = 24
(It should be noted that not all sets of four cards will have a possible solution.)

  1. A good starting point is to remove the face cards from the decks, leaving the numbers 1-10.  Students could work in pairs to try to provide a solution for each set of four cards.
  2. Possible variations include;
  • Remove the odd numbers for a slightly easier version.
  • Draw five cards but only four to be used in the solution.
  • Play as a team competition, the team to get an answer first gets a point.
  • See how many solutions you can get for a given set of four cards.
  • Include the face cards as 11, 12, and 13.

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