Friday, September 16, 2011
Review: Math Dice Jr.
As of TODAY, my continuing education math workshops for teachers are done for the season. I'm very excited to get started with the school year a bit closer to home. Oh wait...in our home!
Last year, my youngest attended preschool two days a week. This year, at 5.5yo, we'll be doing some minimal kindergarten work. Recently, we were excited to receive a game that we can use as he begins learning more about MATH.
MathDice Jr. is designed to be used with ages 6 and up. At 5, my son is on the young side. To play, the rules say to roll the 12-sided Target Die and the five 6-sided Scoring Dice. All are large, chunky and bright...fun playing pieces for young children.
The Scoring Dice can be combined to make addition or subtraction problems that equal the target number. So, for example, in the picture below, you could use 6 + 2 to reach the target of 8. Since my son isn't ready for subtraction, we added another element... If one of the colored Scoring Dice exactly equals the Target Dice, that dice can also be used to achieve a match. My son spent a lot of time counting the dots on each dice to see which matched the target. It was nice for counting practice.
The original instructions call for players to move one space on the track for each die used. Again, we played an easier version (our invention) to meet my son's developmental level. Player #1 (whomever rolled the dice that game), got the first opportunity to make the number, either through addition of several dice or by one-to-one correspondence, "matching" a dice to the target number. If he found a way to make the number, he called "Math Dice," showed his results, "captured" the dice he used (removing them from the play area) and moved one space on the track. Then, the next player in the circle could try to reach the target number from whatever dice remain. If he can match the target number, he also calls "Math Dice" and gets to move one space on the track. We continue around the circle until no possible combinations for the target number remain. Then the player who did not roll the last time gets to roll. Using this method, the play stays pretty balanced; no one is able to get far ahead of others on the track.
The first few times we played, I tried to let my 9yo son play using any operation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) to reach the target number. This left my younger son at a significant disadvantage. So I'd "help" him...again using any operation. But this meant my younger son got very little out of it. So I told everyone that for now, we'd only do one-to-one correspondence or addition. As my youngest learns more math, we'll add more operations...which will make it more of a family game. Right now it's mostly a counting game for the youngest.
The game itself comes with a nice little canvas game board and all pieces fit into a convenient drawstring bag. It was a nice compact game to carry along on a campout. No game markers come with the game but my boys have enjoyed picking out buttons (note the long button in the middle photo!) to use. On the MathDice webpage, you can pick up a pdf for a game board and some pretty cool looking game markers.
My opinion in a nutshell? This is an inexpensive, fun, educational game that could be used by teachers (a great math work station!) or by homeschoolers (a great math workbox!)
Disclosure: I received a free Math Dice Jr. game in exchange for a frank and unbiased review. Thank you to ThinkFun for the opportunity! I was not paid for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. Frankly, I love the ThinkFun products I've had the opportunity to try...most of which I've purchased myself. :) If you purchase this product through my Amazon link at right, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. I do not keep any money myself; I am hoping to be able to sponsor an additional child in foster care through commissions on this site.