Which One Doesn’t Belong? Cards

Ready for an addictively fun brain game for kids?! This critical thinking activity is an easy way to apply countless math skills including place value, shape recognition, comparison, addition, telling time, math vocabulary and so. much. more.

Which One Doesn’t Belong is an awesome math challenge for first or second graders. Be careful! There’s not just one right answer.

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Getting Ready

To prepare this activity, I simply printed the cards onto cardstock and cut them apart.

Then, I laminated the cards to make them last.  I knew this activity would be a math workstation that my first grade students would want to use over and over again!

Which One Doesn’t Belong?

To teach my students how to play, I gathered the group together on our classroom carpet.  I told them that Which One Doesn’t Belong? was an out-of-the-box brain game where a student points out the item she thinks doesn’t belong in a grouping.

I put up an example card with various shapes on it and explained that there were multiple correct answers.  An item could have a different color, size, shape, or value that would make it not belong.

I randomly selected a few students and asked them which one they thought didn’t belong and WHY!


Next, I had my students partner up.  I passed out one card to each pairing and I gave them a few minutes to practice talking about what they noticed.

I walked around and loved what I was hearing!  Students caught on quickly and were able to give reasons for their opinions.

Lastly, I had some students share their thinking and then I put all of the cards into a math workstation.  I told my students they could continue to use the cards during math time by partnering up with a friend and asking each other “Which one doesn’t belong?” and “Why?”


I loved getting students thinking about math ideas and math vocabulary with ease.

Grab Your Copy

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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!

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