All Activities U Tens Go Fish
for parents
for teachers

Tens Go Fish

In this twist on the classic game, go fishing for pairs that add to 10.

Ages: 5-10
Players: 2+
Time: 10-20 Minutes
Type: number games
Location: tabletop
Share This Activity
Ages: 5-10
Players: 2+
Time: 10-20 Minutes
Type: number games
Location: tabletop

Instructions

Remove the tens and face cards from a standard deck, so only the aces and numbers 2 through 9 remain. (You'll need to let kids know that "A" will count as "1" for this game, or see Variations below.) Deal five cards to each player and place the rest of the cards face down in the middle. This draw pile is called the "pond."

Play starts to the dealer's left. Here is what to do on your turn:

  • Draw as many cards as needed from the "pond" until you have at least five in your hand. (If you already have five or more, you won't need to do this.)
  • Lay down any pairs you have that add to ten. For example, if you are holding a 3 and a 7, lay down that pair, since 3 + 7 = 10. (For younger players, keep these face up so they can be referenced going forward. Otherwise, turn pairs face down after you've shown them.)
  • Now it's time for some fishing! For any remaining cards in your hand, choose another player, and ask them for a card you need to make a pair. If you have an 8, for example, ask, "Do you have a 2?"
  • The player who is asked must give the requested card, if they have it. If not, they say, "Go fish!"
  • If you get your desired card, hooray! Lay down your pair and repeat the previous step: choose a player and ask for another card.
  • Once you are told to go fish (or once you run out of cards to lay down), draw a card from the pond. Your turn is over.

Play continues until all pairs have been put down. The player with the most cards laid down wins! (This is a good chance to practice skip-counting by 2 since each pair has 2 cards. Skip-counting by 2's means counting 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.)

Toward the end of the game, the pond might run dry! If the draw pile is empty, continue playing without drawing any cards from the pond.

Don't forget: it's Beast Academy Playground, not Beast Academy Study Hall. Change the rules, be silly, make mistakes, and try again. The Variations and Learning Notes are here for you if you want to dive deeper, but not all of them apply to learners of every age. The most important thing is to have fun.

Variations d

Another Deck:

If you have an UNO deck or another numbered deck available, use it. That way children won't need to remember that aces count as ones. Use cards 1-9 only.

Fives Go Fish:

Also keep the 10 cards in the deck. This variation is the same as Tens Go Fish, except players try to make pairs with a difference of five. For example, 8 and 3 are a pair, because 8 - 3 = 5. The cards 5 and 10 are a pair because 10 - 5 = 5.

Big Tens Go Fish:

Play is the same as Tens Go Fish, except players can lay down groups of cards of any size that add to ten. For example, if a player has a 5, 3, and 2 in their hand, they can lay these three cards down, since 5 + 3 + 2 = 10. Pairs are also still allowed. Once the pond is empty, play continues until all players in a row have been unable to lay down a group. Unlike Tens Go Fish, players may finish the game with cards in their hands. A player's score is the number of cards they laid down minus the number of cards in their hand. High score wins.

Classroom Tips d

Play Tens Go Fish to lay a solid addition foundations before moving to addition beyond ten. Split into groups of 4-5 to play.

Discussion Questions

  • Can you make a math sentence that starts with the numbers you added? (2 + 8 = 10)
  • Can you make a math sentence that starts with the sum? (10 = 2 + 8)
  • How else can you add the pair of numbers to make 10? (8 + 2 = 10)
  • Can you make a subtraction number sentence with your cards? (10 - 8 = 2 or 10 - 2 = 8)
  • How many different pairs are there that add to 10?

Alignment with Beast Academy Curriculum

  • None (until BA Level 1 is released!)

See Variations and Learning Notes for more ideas on how to adapt this activity and incorporate it into your classroom.

Learning Notes d

Addition Intuition:

Give your child 10 tokens and ask them to write down any pairs of numbers they can find that fill in the blanks __ + __ = 10. After letting them work, show that each pair can be found by starting with a pile of 10 tokens, and moving 1 at a time to a second pile. Ask them why the total number of tokens doesn't change when moving a token from one pile to the other.

Demonstrate that addition is commutative (this means it doesn't matter what order you add things together in, you'll get the same answer either way). After recording 9 + 1, 8 + 2, 7 + 3, and 6 + 4, each pile has 5 tokens, representing 5 + 5. Ask if there are more pairs. Then move a token to get a pile of 4 and 6. 6 + 4 = 10 is already listed, and now kids can see that 4 + 6 also equals 10. Similarly, 7 + 3 and 3 + 7 also equal the same amount, 8 + 2 = 2 + 8, and 9 + 1 = 1 + 9.

Finally, ask what addition fact is represented by a single pile of 10. Help them identify that when one pile has 10 tokens, the other has 0, so 10 + 0 = 10 and 0 + 10 = 10 can also be added to the list. (Unless you have a special deck, however, these won't be useful in Tens Go Fish!)

What do you think of this activity?

We're always looking to improve. Submit your feedback to us below.

Share This Activity
Materials
  • standard deck of cards
Learning Goals
  • addition
  • pairs that add to ten
  • skip-counting
  • subtraction
Common Core Standards
Image of Ms. Q

Ready to level up?

Keep problem solving with Beast Academy’s full math curriculum for students ages 7–13. Check out our captivating comic book series and immersive online platform.

LEARN MORE

Bring problem-solving to your classroom

Keep your entire class engaged with a full book and online math curriculum, for students ages 7–13. 98% of teachers say they’re satisfied with Beast Academy.

LEARN MORE
Image of a BA book

Recommended Videos

Image of Ms. Q

Ready to level up?

Keep problem solving with Beast Academy’s full math curriculum for students ages 7–13. Check out our captivating comic book series and immersive online platform.

LEARN MORE

Bring problem-solving to your classroom

Keep your entire class engaged with a full book and online math curriculum, for students ages 7–13. 98% of teachers say they’re satisfied with Beast Academy.

LEARN MORE
Image of a BA book