5 Different Ways to Use Task Cards

I absolutely love task cards! Who doesn’t? It’s just a worksheet all fancied up into multiple packages, right? And kids love them too!

Are you looking for some new ideas on how to use task cards in the elementary classroom? Check out these 5 different ways to engage students using task cards!

I’ve hung them around my room and had students cruise around answering question after question. I have placed them on desks and played the ever famous scoot! I’ve even stood up in the front of the class and treated it like a game show. But sometimes I often wonder if the constant use of task cards becomes a bit monotonous. I mean, the first few times we played scoot it was exciting, and even though the material on the cards were changing, the activities with them were not. So, I asked myself, how can I spruce up these adorable question cards to keep students engaged? (My ideas are below.)

It wasn’t that long ago that I discovered Rachel Lynette’s Task Card Handbook.


It is packed full of information about task cards- how to use them, take care of them, so on. In it there are multiple suggestions such as utilizing them for partner work, small group work, games, and much more. In this she encourages you to check out Promoting Success’s Task Card Information sheet for more ideas. It is similar in ideas and valuable.


I loved the ideas in these resources! Not only that, it somehow gave me ideas that weren’t even listed in them (it’s fun when that happens)! So, I thought I’d share those with you…

Different Ways to Use Task Cards

Knock It Out

In this whole group activity, have students stand in a line up against a classroom wall facing you. Draw a stick or name and ask the question on the task card. If that student answers correctly, he or she gets to “nudge” a person on his/her right or left. The person who got nudged is out! However, if the student answers incorrectly, he/she is out! You keep going until there is one person left.

Race to Fill

This is a partner activity. Provide each pair with two small dixie cups and a handful (more or less) of dry beans. Have them draw a task card and answer the question. If he/she gets it correct, he/she gets to place it a bean in their cup. If they are wrong, no bean and it’s their partner’s turn. At the end, the person with the most beans (or fills the cup first) wins!

Whip Around

In this whole group activity, stand at the front of the room and read off your task card. Students write their answers privately on a whiteboard slate. Once it appears everyone is ready, start in one location of the room (or I do it in number order) and have students one by one quickly turn their board around and say their answer. The students should “whip around” fast so they don’t have time to change their answer.

Heart Breaker

You could change the name of this one if you prefer, but this game is geared toward teams and groups. Ask one member of the team a question from a task card. If that team member answers correctly s/he gets to draw a card from a deck of regular cards (I take out the face cards, but that is up to you). Whatever number is drawn is how many points that team gets. However, if he or she draws a “heart” card, they lose the number of points on the card. You can read about heartbreaker more in-depth here.

Task Card Relay

I love relay games- always have! I like to have two lines of my students facing the whiteboard. I draw a card and read the task card. They have to quickly come up with the answer (whether it be on an index card premade or they write it themselves) and run it up to the board under their team name first. Then I place a check next to the correct answer that was taped up first and at the end count them all up. The team with the most points wins! This activity can be done with more than two teams- try four for a bit of variety!

Learn some tips and ideas to teaching about the strategies and steps to problem solving in math in this blog post, and grab a freebie to get you started!

I’m sure I’ll think of many more ideas along with these as the year progresses (as my ADHD causes me to get bored so quickly with the same ole same ole!)  Be sure to check back to see if I’ve added any new ideas!

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