Math Wheels for Note-taking?

Algebraic Equations Activity: I Have, Who Has


Do you need an engaging algebraic equations activity to help your middle school math students practice solving one-step equations?

Your students will love using the ‘I Have, Who Has’ game idea with one-step algebraic equations!

You can create ‘I Have, Who Has’ activities for SO many different subjects and topics. 

I didn’t use ‘I Have, Who Has’ all that often in 6th grade math, because sometimes I felt like it took too long to get through the activity (depending on the concept), and I didn’t want the kids to get too restless. 

  • However, I gave it a try with one-step algebraic equations, specifically for solving addition and subtraction equations. And this one was great!

For this activity, I made 32 cards, so that if future classes are larger, I have enough cards for each student (hopefully class size doesn’t go over 32!)

How Algebraic Equations "I Have, Who Has" Works

In case you’ve never used “I Have, Who Has,” here’s how it works.

1) Distribute the cards to the students, in no particular order.

  • I shuffle the cards up to make sure the cards aren’t in order as I hand them out.
  • If there are fewer students than cards, some students will need to have 2 cards in order for the game to work correctly and get to the ending card of the game.

2) The game begins with the card that states, “I have the first card.” 

The student with this card reads this statement plus the first equation question, “Who has the solution to x + 12 = 15?”

3) All other students take a moment to find the solution to the equation, and then the student who has the solution reads their card, which says:

“I have 3. Who has the solution to 47 = x – 14?”

4) Students all solve the new equation, and the student with the solution reads their card next. 

5) The game continues in this way until all cards have been used. The last card has a solution plus the question, “Who has the first card?”

Algebraic Equations Activity Recommendation

Overall, this algebraic equations activity worked out well for all four of my classes, the first time I used it (and the many times since then!).

  • The first class took about 20 minutes to finish the game (many of them were writing out all of their work for each problem). 
  • In the next class period, I told students that they didn’t need to write out all of the work, but could solve it mentally or using the calculator, and that class took 14 minutes. 
  • The third class took about 9 minutes, and the fourth class took 15 minutes. 

In the following years, and I made a few ‘tweaks’ as we played this math game. One of those was this recommendation:

  • Since students need to solve equations as other students read them, I found it helpful to write the equations on the board as students read them from their cards. This way the equation doesn’t have to be repeated, students don’t misunderstand what was said, and students can solve more quickly.
‘I Have, Who Has’ is a great, engaging activity, and my students really enjoyed this one, for solving one-step algebraic equations.

If you’re looking for more algebraic equations activities, check out the Playing Algebraic Equations Bingo post!



Welcome to Cognitive Cardio Math! I’m Ellie, a wife, mom, grandma, and dog ‘mom,’ and I’ve spent just about my whole life in school! With nearly 30 years in education, I’ve taught:

  • All subject areas in 4th and 5th grades
  • Math, ELA, and science in 6th grade (middle school)

I’ve been creating resources for teachers since 2012 and have worked in the elearning industry for about five years as well!

If you’re looking for ideas and resources to help you teach math (and a little ELA), I can help you out!



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