It’s that time of the school year when teachers are frantically searching for ways to engage antsy students. With classroom routines firmly in place and students feeling comfortable in their classroom community, it’s a great time to introduce new materials for engagement during academic times. It can be overwhelming to gather tons of new manipulatives, though, so teachers like to use one new material in versatile ways. A deck of Uno cards in math has proven to be effective and engaging across multiple grade levels and learning standards. Kids are loving it!

Here are a few great ways you can use Uno cards in math class to engage students.


  1. Have students sort Uno cards by color. Provide an extra challenge by asking students to make patterns by color using the cards.
  2. Have students choose one number from the top of the deck, then try to represent the number in multiple ways (with fingers, dice, dominoes, pictures, tally marks, etc.)
  3. Have students match Uno cards with number bonds. For example, if a student is given the numbers “3” and “1”, they will add/combine to find an Uno card that says “4.”

First and Second Grade

  1. Have students sort Uno cards by odd or even into two piles. Challenge students to work in partners and talk about how they decided which cards were odd and which were even.
  2. Use Uno cards to teach shapes! Students can draw the top card from the deck and make a shape that has the number of sides as listed on the Uno card. For example, a student would draw a pentagon if they pulled a “5” card. If you have peg boards, this would be a great way to incorporate two hands-on materials into one lesson.
  3. Students pull two cards from the deck and subtract them to find the difference. Make it interesting by timing students or having partners go “against” one another to see who can find more differences in a set amount of time.

Third and Fourth Grade

  1. Students can create multi-digit numbers with Uno cards and practice placing greater than, less than, or equal to signs in between numbers. Increase the number of digits/cards pulled per number to challenge students.
  2. Students can practice multiplication fact fluency with Uno cards by pulling two cards to multiply. A partner can double check the product for accuracy, or students can use a multiplication table to shade in each product they find as they practice.
  3. Students can play War with the Uno cards to reinforce place value understandings. Partners go against one another by each pulling three cards to create three-digit numbers. The partner with the higher number gets one point. The first student to get to five points wins.

Fifth and Sixth Grade

  1. Students pull two cards from the deck to make an improper fraction. Using the improper fraction, students can practice converting it into a mixed number or drawing models.
  2. Students can make two digit (or higher) numbers using Uno cards, then determine if the number is prime or composite. A partner can check for accuracy while students record thinking on a separate sheet.
  3. Similar to “place value war” for younger students, older kids can multiply uno cards to find a product and determine if their own or their partner’s product is higher. The partner with the higher product gets one point. The first student to get to 5 points wins.

The best part about using Uno cards during math is that it is easy and quick to differentiate how the cards are used. It is not often that teachers can find a manipulative or resource that works for all students!

Use Uno Cards in Math Class to Engage Students of All Ages!