For students in the early stages of learning about effective study techniques, a teacher handing them a plain pile of index cards might not spark creativity and excitement right away. At first glance, it’s hard to blame them for feeling that way.  Index cards feature no text or pictures — and they don’t even fold properly to make paper airplanes! Why not just use paper?

Well, as most teachers will tell you, index cards present a fabulous opportunity for their students to brush up on a wide variety of topics in a fun, original format that just might ignite a passion for the subject at hand! If you haven’t discussed the use of these study gems with your class yet, we’ve got some suggestions on ways to get your students started on a structured study path.

THE FRACTION MEMORY GAME: Have the student draw shapes on the index cards and divide them into the halves, thirds or fourths. Then, on separate index cards, write down a corresponding fraction that matches one of the shapes. Finally, arrange all the cards facedown, and let the game begin! The student will attempt to find matches between shape cards and fraction cards.

CUTTING CARDS IN HALF: Creating two miniature index cards out of one is a convenient way to review short exercises and problems. These “flash” cards are great for math problems, vocabulary words (in any language!) and geometric shapes — just to name a few things.

LEARN ON THE GO: The beauty of index cards is that they’re small enough to take with you and review anytime, anywhere! This can’t be stressed to students strongly enough. Encourage your class to carry their cards around in a pocket, and to take full advantage of free time windows that may arise during the day.