In this game players combine two given numbers to get as close to a target as possible using one of the operations: addition +, subtraction -, or multiplication ×, and each number once and only once. For example, combining (-3) and (-5) to get as close as possible to the target of -10 the best answer is (-3) + (-5) = -8.

For -7  and +9, the nearest to a target -35 is  (-7) – (+9) = (-16) and the nearest to zero is (+9) + (-7) = (+2). To hit the maximum and minimum targets: use (+9) – (-7) = +15 for the maximum and (+9) × (-7) = (-63) to hit the minimum.

Find the best answers for:

1. Target -60 with (-6) and (+9);
2. Target +45 with (-5) and (-9);
3. Target the minimum number with (-9) and (+2).

Now you are ready to play the game. You can download the sheet shown here and cut out the cards. This game can be played by a whole class and then the teacher decides on the best answer, or it can be played by any number of players when they need to agree between themselves on the best answer for each round.

RULES FOR THE TARGET GAME

The aim is to get as close to the target as possible. Players score 5 points if they hit the target.  If nobody hits the target players getting nearest to the target score 2 points.  Mix up the numbered cards and place them face down. Also mix the target cards and place them face down. Turn over the top two number cards and one target card. All the players must write down the two numbers and choose an operation to combine them to get as near to the target as possible. Then the players check their answers and the scores are recorded. The first player to reach 20 points wins the game.

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