# Practicing addition/subtraction fluency with the Silly Monkeys

This week, as a graduate student in math elementary education, I had to design a game for 1st graders to “Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10 ” (Common Core Standards in Math 1.OA.6.).

I started from a game that my children love to play called “premier verger”, or “First Orchard”, a cooperative game where players have to harvest fruits before the raven reaches the orchard. I thought a cooperative game may be a good option so that  children practice their math skills rather than coping with losing a game :-)

Game – Here come the Silly Monkeys !

Goal : The players, working as a team, must gather all cards before the Silly Monkeys reach them.

Material :

• A set of cards, numbered from 0 to 20
• a “Silly Monkeys” card (a “monster” card, or anything that may keep the children motivated!)
• two 12-side dice and one +/- dice (can be easily, and cheaply, found on eNasco.com), or any alternative that allows children to generate 2 numbers
• a folder with a template to put 6 cards on the right, and 3 steps on the left that the Silly Monkeys are going to climb on (I find it convenient to make games out of folders as it is easy for the children to put the material away once they are done in a plastic bag attached to the folder, but of course, it is not required).
• Counters, if needed, to solve equations
• Math journals to record equations

How to play:

• The players ( 2 or 3) withdraw 6 cards out of the set of cards, and displayed them on the template. The Silly Monkeys card is placed on the first step (see picture below).
• One of the players rolls the dice, and solve the equation, an addition or a subtraction depending on the dice (e.g. 11 + 5 = 16, or 12 – 6 = 6).
• If the solution is one of the numerals on the cards, the player records the equation on his/her journal and takes the card to the team.
• If the solution is > 20, the player moves the Silly Monkeys up one step.
• If the solution is none of the above, the player just records the equation.
• Another player rolls the dice and proceeds as previously.
• The team players take turn, until they get all 6 cards, or the Silly Monkeys reach the last step… and get the cards left.