The Zero Game is beneficial for children who are developing fluency adding and subtracting small numbers (1-10) from 1- and 2-digit numbers. The game board presents children with a type of number line, giving them a visual assist if they cannot add or subtract mentally. The game board consists of 4 lines of numbers (organized by tens), one of the challenges for children is to recognize that when the marker reaches the end of a line of tens, it has to be moved to the next line - much like borrowing or carrying.
As the marker gets closer to zero, children have the opportunity to reason about which numbers would take them below zero (causing them to lose a chip) and which number they would need to play in order to land directly on zero (thus collecting extra chips). Children can also develop strategies such as using their large numbers early in the game (when the marker is closer to 30), playing a card that will place the marker very close to zero for the next player, and hoarding their addition cards to use when the marker gets close to zero.
Click the below icons to print out game board, cards, card backs, rules and notes.
The Zero Game: Game board
The Zero Game: Cards
The Zero Game: Card backs
The Zero Game: Rules
The Zero Game: Notes
Recommended # of Players: 2 - 4
Common Core Standards
*Click on the category title (ex: "Counting and Cardinality") to view the entire standards of the Common Core.
Know number names and the count sequence.
- K.CC.1. Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
- K.CC.2. Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
- K.CC.3. Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
Count to tell the number of objects.
- K.CC.4. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
- When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
- Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
- Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
- K.CC.5. Count to answer how many? questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1 to 20, count out that many objects.
- K.CC.6. Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.
- K.CC.7. Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.
Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.
- K.OA.1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
- K.OA.2. Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
- K.OA.3. Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
- K.OA.4. For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.
- K.OA.5. Fluently add and subtract within 5.
Work with numbers 11-19 to gain foundations for place value.
- K.NBT.1. Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (such as 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
- 1.OA.1. Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
- 1.OA.2. Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
- 1.OA.3. Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract. Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)
- 1.OA.4.Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 - 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8. Add and subtract within 20.
Add and subtract within 20.
- 1.OA.5. Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
- 1.OA.6. Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
Work with addition and subtraction equations.
- 1.OA.7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 - 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
- 1.OA.8. Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 + ? = 11, 5 = _ - 3, 6 + 6 = _.
Extend the counting sequence.
- 1.NBT.1. Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.
Understand place value.
- 1.NBT.2. Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones. Understand the following as special cases:
- 10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones called a ten.
- The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
- The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).
Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract.
- 1.NBT.4. Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.