Home Free Lessons Sum – Memory
Sum – Memory

About This Lesson

Topics: Addition
Materials: Cards
Recommended grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Common Core: K.OA.A.2, K.OA.A.4, K.OA.A.5, 1.OA.C.6, 2.OA.B.2

Sum-Memory is Memory with a twist: instead of trying to capture identical pairs, players are trying to find pairs that add up to 5, 10, or another target number.

Why we love Sum-Memory

Sum-Memory is all the fun of memory, but with the addition practice of sums to 5s, 10s, and 15s build in. A perfect game for kids who need a little extra addition practice. This game is ideal for stations.

How to Play


  • Create a deck from 4 ones or aces, 4 twos, 4 three, and 4 fours.
  • Deal out the cards face down.
  • Players take turns turning two cards face up.
    If a player turns a pair upward and that pair sums to 5, the player puts that pair of cards in their stash and plays again.
  • If the upward pair does not sum to 5, the player turns the cards back face down, and the next player moves.
  • The game ends when the cards are all claimed. Whoever has the most cards wins.


  • Like 5-Sum-Memory, but the deck consists of 2 ones or aces, 2 twos, 2 threes, 2 fours, 2 fives, 2 sixes, 2 sevens, 2 eights, and 2 nines, and the target sum is 10 instead of 5.

In this tricky variation, the deck consists of four of each card from 1 to 9.
If a player turns up a pair that adds up to 5, 10 OR 15, they keep the pair and go again.


Tips for the classroom

  1. The best way to teach this game is with a group of kids, though its possible to demonstrate the game for the whole class too.
    Play an example game, and solicit advice from the students about what cards you (the teacher) should pick on your turn. Once it is clear that everyone understands the rules—which should be relatively quick—let students play each other.
  2. You can encourage students to think about what number they are looking for when they turn over a card. Otherwise, don’t give too many hints, or take over for the students.
  3. Depending on your students, consider establishing a protocol that students have to declare their sum to the other players, who then confirm it if they agree.
    I.e., if a students turns over a 1 and a 4, they would say, “one plus four equals five. Can I claim the pair?” and another player would confirm, “one plus four equals five. Claim it.” Substitute whatever language is most appropriate in your classroom.

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