Sunday, 22 April 2012


Has anyone heard of or used Rack-O in the classroom?? I was introduced to this math game when I was working on my professional development project.  I absolutely fell in love with this game for my Grade 2 class.  The object of the game is place your cards in relative order from lowest to highest through a series of turns.  You earn more points if you get a run of 3 or more (for grade two I made mini runs of 2 cards so the game was more age appropriate). 

It is a great game for teaching strategy, number order, and less than and greater than. 

How I taught the game was in a series of slow steps...

My first lesson was very basic... I made HUGE cards with numbers from 1 - 50 on them.  I randomly gave cards to groups of 4-5 students.  As a group they would try and place themselves in relative order from lowest to highest.  As a class we reviewed each groups numbers... and made some corrections.  It was really interesting to see how much of a struggle it was for students to place numbers in order when they are not in a numerical sequence (some found this concept very easy, while others found it hard deciding which number was greater than or less than). 

After this concept became a little stronger we would start "playing" the game as a class.  I placed 5 cards on the white board... and as a class we would discuss if we had any mini runs, numbers that had to go, and numbers we had to keep. Because I am a visual learner I made a picture of what this looks like.
In this example we have:
- 21 and 22 are a mini run
- 39 is a possible keeper
- 43 and 2 have to go

Our first step is to pick up a mystery card and decide if we want to use it or discard it.  If we picked up a 3 we would want to place it in 43's position (I let the class come to a decision on every move.... this sometimes takes a little time.  I ask for some students opinions... then we vote... democracy in action!). 

Then we keep on picking up cards until we have our numbers in relative order from lowest to highest.

Once the students understand the game I have them play against me... they love this part.  We even keep a running score board on the white board so that they can harass and pick on me when they are winning (yes I did let them win a couple times... but 26 grade 2's are fierce competitors).

Lastly, I can use the actual game as a math center activity for small group work.  I absolutely love having centers once a week so this is a great addition.

Have you come across any other sweet math board games that can be altered to work in the classroom??? I always love finding new games to use. 


  1. My grandma and me used to play RAck-O all the time, I never thought of using it for this- awesome!

    Sparkles , Smiles, and Student Teaching

  2. Thanks for the info! I just added it to my wish list and will add it to my math review centers section. On Amazon there were many complaints about the cards falling apart - any comment on this?

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  3. I haven't noticed any issues with my own set, but for the school set I would suggest laminating the cards so that they last longer.


  4. I have this game that I played with years ago as a child. Why didn't I think of that! Thanks for sharing! :-)

    First Grade Delight