Math Mondays: Three Ways to Use Task Cards

When you differentiate, you have students using different materials simultaneously. For practice and review I love matching cards (or task cards or whatever you personally like to call them). 

Here's three easy ways I use them in my secondary classroom:

1. Individual notebooks or centers. 

When I have just one or two students working on a specific concept, I often set up cards for a notebook. Students do a concentration game to match problems and solutions and then glue them into the notebooks.

2. Small groups

When I have one or more small groups working, I might set up a scavenger hunt. I post answers all over the room, including on the under side of objects - I want students to be challenged and have fun. I give each member of a group a set (or subset )of problem cards and an answer sheet. Students need to solve their problem and find the match. If someone is stuck, they can ask for help from a group member. If they struggle to solve the problem, they star that response on their answer sheet,  so I know they need more practice.

3. Whole class game on

If you are at a point where several students are working on a topic or maybe the whole class could use a review, then bring on the whole class game:

  • Teams: Divide students into groups of 5. 
  • Color Code Cards: Color code one set of cards for each group so that they cannot accidentally take any other group's cards. There are 12 answer cards for each group laid out around the room. 
  • Everyone is part of the team: To prevent just a couple of kids from going through the problems, the rule is that each person in the group has to solve at least two problems. They can check each other's work, but they cannot solve the problem for each other. 
  • Bonus problems: The extra 2 problems can be solved however the group chooses. Students can look for the answer after a problem is solved or wait until all the  problems are solved. 
  • Control the chaos: Only 1 person per group can be up from their chair looking for solutions at any one time. Once a solution is found, it must be returned to the group before another solution is searched for. 
My students love this game. I've even tried it a couple of times where groups are doing different sort cards at the same time. So, group A might be using the Pythagorean Word Problem Cards while group B is using the linear inequality word problem cards. The color-coded cards make the logistics of this activity easy.

Have another great idea for using task cards or other practice materials in the classroom? Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

Math Mondays is a bi-weekly blog post (2nd and 4th Monday of each month) sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should include, you can leave me a message in the comments section below or at the store in the question and answer section.



  1. I am loving the "Math Monday" posts! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for sharing the feedback. I always hope that someone is benefitting from the posts.



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