Let’s learn how to play U-KNOW like a pro!
U-KNOW has been a very popular game for my students and in my store for a very long time, and today, I want to break down how to play U-KNOW in detail.
Don’t worry! I’ll drop in some special tips and tricks as well!
What is U-KNOW?
Very simply, U-KNOW is a card game teachers can use to work on different skills with students.
We have a variety of topics and categories of U-KNOW cards, so teachers can use U-KNOW as a review for almost any skill taught in upper elementary.
How to Play U-KNOW Games
- Shuffle the cards and then deal out five cards to each person, starting with the person to your left.
- Put the deck in the middle and flip one card over.
- The person to the left of the dealer goes first. He/she may lay the same color/shape, number, or type of card as the top card on the discard pile. He/she may also play a “wild” card.
- If the player has a playable card, he/she may lay it on top of the discard pile in the middle. He/she must read the card and correctly respond.
- Another student checks the answer using the answer key.
- If he/she is correct, play continues to the left (unless a reverse was used).
- If he/she is incorrect, they take back his/her card and draw two cards before play continues.
- If a player does not have a playable card in his/her hand, he/she may draw one card to try to get one. If he/she gets one, he/she may play it. If not, the play continues.
- If you run out of draw cards, take the discarded cards, shuffle them, and reuse them.
The play continues until a player gets down to one card. He/she must yell, “U-Know!” before anyone else, or he/she must draw two.
- The first player to get rid of all of his/her cards WINS!
Color printing is best for playing U-KNOW, but I have included an ink-friendly version in each set that uses shapes instead of colors.
If you do not have a color printer and want to focus on the colors, then print in black and white and add a colored dot to each card with a marker. This takes a little more prep time but can save a lot of ink.
Now, this next one is a pro tip, so pay close attention to the details!
If you’re printing the card backing, please make sure you print all pages in “actual size.” Print all cards and then put them back into the printer to print the backing. There are four options for backings, so pick your favorite!
Game Play Tips
Having a plan for how you want students to play U-KNOW is important, and figuring out some of these details before introducing the game to students can be very helpful in getting students to a point where they can play independently.
Here are a few things to think about as you teach students how to play U-KNOW.
- Some games require students to do some work and/or use a calculator, so teach them what to do when that is the case, or keep a few small calculators with the U-KNOW sets that need them.
- Use the optional included accountability sheet for students to use to show work and/or record answers as they go. Print off a bunch of these sheets at the beginning of the year to have ready to use any time students play U-KNOW in class.
- If you want all students to answer questions, you may want to supply whiteboards and markers for students to work out problems as they play.
- Students should have the answer key face down until needed. Once someone has answered the question, just one student checks the answers for other students.
U-KNOW Differentiation Tips
Although you don’t want to affect the general gameplay too much, there are a few things you can do to differentiate U-KNOW for students who need some extra support.
First, allow students who need it to use the ‘cheat sheet’ to assist them in answering the questions. You can always pair down this sheet as they get more confident.
Second, you can also remove a few cards from the game that are particularly difficult. Removing a few cards will not negatively affect gameplay.
Third, you can mix and match cards from different sets to specifically allow students to work on skills they need to work on. Since we have so many sets available, you can easily pull some cards from one set to mix into another. The gameplay will not be affected. You will just want to create an updated answer key and mark the new cards in a way that people will be able to find the answers for them.
U-KNOW is a great review game for upper elementary students, and when you set them up well, students can play any set you give them independently, as needed, throughout the year.