Monday, May 17, 2010

Games That Emphasize Patterns (SET and Blink)

One of the parts of math I most enjoy? The search for patterns. Here are two games that make patterns especially fun:

SET is one of the best games out there. I recommend it when I lead teacher workshops and those who are familiar with it always sing it's praises. Basic concept? Lay out 12 cards and look for "sets"...a set comprises 3 cards in which all the characteristics are either completely the same or completely different. But there are many characteristics and therefore, many possible combinations. Some sets are very simple, others very complex. Kids as young as 6 can play...and sometimes beat!...adults. Any number of people can play. I've used it in homeschool co-ops before, spreading it out on a table so kids can look for sets as other kids are arriving. It works well in a classroom when used under a document camera. It's also an awesome family game.

While scanning the game shelves at Goodwill last week, I came across a cardgame that I was unfamiliar with, Blink. I left it there, not seeing directions or knowing what it was. I should have bought it. I came home, looked it up on Amazon, and ended up buying a new set. 

Blink is a fast, much easier version of SET. My 7yo son is just beginning to understand some of the complex patterns that are possible with SET. In contrast, the patterns in Blink are easy, but it's a game that takes 2 minutes or less. As fast as you can, you're looking to match figure shape, color, or numbers. I backed off my pace to make it a fair match with my 7yo, but even my 4yo was able to place cards in patterns. We just slowed WAAAAYYYYY down. But the game is fun enough to play full-throttle with a big kid or adult. We'll likely take it on trips as it comes in a little tin box, making it easy to pack.

Both games do a great job of encouraging players to search for patterns. You can also play one game of SET each day, on-line.

1 comment:

  1. With Blink, instead of slowing down, you can just start with a bigger pile than the child you're playing with. That's what I did with my son.


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