I’ll bet some of your students already know how to play WAR using standard playing cards. It will be easy to teach them to play the same game using a deck consisting of musical note value cards. I remember playing this game with my music teacher, so there’s nothing original about it. Rhythm War and Math is just as fun today as it was years ago.
How to Play Rhythm War:
- Deal out all the cards to 2 or more players.
- Saying, “1-2-Hit,” Each player turns one card face down. All players lay down the topmost card.
- The player laying down the note with the longest value collects all of the cards which were just laid down.
- In the case of a tie, a “war” takes place.
- WAR= This means that the tying players lay two cards face down and one card face up, while saying “I – declare – war.”
- The player laying the face-up card with the greater value collects all of the cards which were just laid down.
- If a war results in another tie, yet another war takes place…
- When one player runs out of cards, the team members can collect all the cards and start over, or the player with the most cards may give up a few of his cards to keep the game going… that’s the best way to play!
Introducing Rhythm War on the SMARTBoard
The SMARTBoard is just perfect for introducing the rhythm and math concepts needed to play the game. When all of the attention is focused on the SMARTBoard, the explanations take up less playing time! 🙂 Download the Rhythm War SMART Notebook file at the bottom of this post. If you don’t see it, click on the title of this post and refresh to go to the original post. Feel free to change it up to suit your way of introducing the game. Even if you’ve played this game several times before, I suggest that you still take the time to go through all of the steps and rules to keep the children honest! Remember: “Won” cards go to the bottom of the deck, and we always play from the “Top” of the deck! The children often get tripped up on what merits a “War.” Take time to explain this.
Rhythm War Game Prep
These are a few helpful suggestions:
- The Rhythm War Cards(PDF) can be downloaded at the bottom of this post. If you don’t see the download widget, you can download them here. Copy the cards to card-stock and laminate. Hint: If the cards curl after you cut them apart, run them back through lamination to make them sturdier. Yes, it is a pain to make the cards, but once they are made…. the fun can begin.
- Store each set of cards in a “solo” cup. It’s easier than zip-loc bags and rubber bands!
- I use my magical hula hoops to divide the children into groups. The inside of the hoop is the playing area and the children happily sit around the hoop. Instant, easy grouping!
- One child is the dealer and must pass out ALL of the cards. Once the game begins, I walk around and offer to pass the cards out for them if I see that they are struggling with the big task. They don’t mind, and it helps them begin the game sooner.
- I have a in my music room. All of the note values are posted and the children can look there if they need help remembering how many beats a note gets. If you don’t have a Rhythm Wall, use a poster to display the note value key.
Rhythm War teaches Music and Math
I love the chaos that active learning brings!!
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