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How Long Does it Take?

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

How Long Does it Take?

This matching and memory game can be played on your own or with a friend.

You will need to print out and cut out the cards from this sheet.

The aim of the game is to find a pair of matching cards.  One card will have the description of an event or activity on it and the other card will have the length of time that event or activity takes.

How to play with two players:
1.  Shuffle the cards and lay them out face down in a rectangle, like this:

2.  The first player turns over one card, then another one.
3.  If the cards match (i.e. if one card shows an event or activity and the other shows how long that activity takes), that player takes them and has another turn.  If the cards do not match, the cards are turned face down again.
4.  The second player turns over two cards in the same way and takes them if they are a pair, or turns them over if they are not a pair.
5.  Players take turns to turn over two cards at a time in this way.
5.  The game ends when all the cards have been matched into pairs.
6.  The winner is the player who has taken more pairs of cards.

Alternatively, you could use a scoring system - see the instructions for playing with one player below.

How to play with one player:
1.  Layout the cards face down in a rectangle in the same way as above.
2.  Give yourself 100 points at the start of the game.  You may need to write this down!
3.  Turn over one card, then another.
4.  If the cards match, add 50 points to your score and remove them.  If the cards do not match, subtract 10 points from your score and turn the cards face down again.
5.  Turn over two cards again and repeat step 4.
6.  The game ends when all the cards have been matched into pairs.

Try again - can you beat your previous score/s?

Why play this game?

This simple game is designed to help children become more familiar with standard units of time and to be able to choose the most appropriate units to measure time.  Higher-order thinking is required in order to play strategically.

Possible approach

It might be easiest to introduce the game to a small group.  Sit in a circle and lay out the cards as in the instructions, without saying anything to the children.  Ask the children to watch what you are about to do very carefully to see whether they can work out how to play the game.  Being to play yourself, slowly, without saying anything at all.  (At this stage, it is probably best not to use a scoring system.)  After you have taken a couple of pairs, stop and invite learners to talk in pairs about how they think the game works.

Give them time to talk as a whole group and clarify the rules of the game.  Give pairs of children a set of cards and ask them to work together to have a go themselves.  You could introduce a scoring system and/or the competitive version as you see fit.

Look out for those children who begin to think strategically by using their turn wisely.  For example, where possible, it is better for the first card they turn over to be one that is unknown as there is a possibility that it will match with one that is already known.

The plenary could focus on any tips/strategies/special things to remember that the children want to share.  How could they make the game more difficult?

Key questions

How long do you think that takes?
Do those two match?  How do you know?
Have we already seen a card that might match that one?

Possible extension

Learners could make their own sets of additional cards using these blank cards, for example using particular activities in the school day.

Possible support

An easier approach might be a sorting activity in which children focused on sorting the printed cards into matching sets before playing the memory game.