Concentration or Memory

Variations on this classic memory game can be used by partners or in small groups. They can also be developed into a learning center or station. This is an excellent activity to develop memory skills and approaches to problem solving. It is also a fun way to reinforce noting details and matching attributes.

To play the game there must be pairs of cards. These can be matching pictures, pictures of things that go together, pictures of specific number of things and corresponding numeral cards, cause and effect representations, opposites, rhyming, or other cards showing items with matching attributes. Younger players need less detailed and complicated pictures.

I usually demonstrate a game or folder activity when I introduce it to the group.  I stress that players should discuss and agree to follow the directions or rules before they begin play. Then, when disagreements arise, I first ask, “What did you agree to do before you started to play?”

Game Rules

Before you begin:
Cards are laid out face down in a grid on the playing surface. The floor is usually a good surface for small groups so the players can move around the outside of the grid if they chose. Good arrangements for partner or small group games are 16 or 24 cards laid out in 4x4 or 4x6 grids.

The placement of the cards needs to remain the same throughout the game. When removing cards from the grid care should be taken to leave the remaining cards in their original positions.

VARIATION: Add a bonus card to the play that give a player who finds it an extra turn, bonus points, or some other special reward. When playing with a bonus card, you can arrange the cards in a 3x3 or 5x5 grid.

To begin play:
The first player carefully turns over two cards. If the cards do not match, the player carefully turns the cards back over in their respective places and the next person takes a turn. If the cards do match, the player removes them from the grid. The successful player may be allowed another turn, or each player is allowed to turn over only two cards each turn. This should be decided before the game starts.

Play continues until all of the matching pairs have been removed from the grid.

Even though players can score points, I try to downplay the competitive aspect of concentration and focus on recognizing students for being an “eagle eye” or a “super sleuth”.

Each player counts up the number of pairs he/she has discovered. The player with the most pairs is the winner.

VARIATION: If there is time for several rounds players could accumulate points, one for each pair. At the end of the play time or after an agreed number of rounds, the player with the most points wins.