Thursday, December 1, 2011

Game Review: Speed! Multiplication/Skip Counting

Speed! is a "two-person game that uses skip counting to teach multiplication." (from the game directions)

The game comes with 8 decks of cards for skip counting 2s-9s. The photo (above) is from the 2s deck which contains 4 sets of identical cards numbered: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20. A visual representation of "beads" matches the card number.

To play, each person is given half the deck. Several cards are placed on the playing surface; each player then races to discard from a line-up of four cards in front of him/her. Players may lay cards one skip count higher or lower than the cards in the center. So, for example, you could lay either a 4 or an 8 on a 6. YouTube shows the game in play.

Game Strengths:
* My 9yo son enjoyed the game. (He does already know his times tables, but I think he would have enjoyed it equally, even if he didn't know them.) When I asked him for a comment on the game, he said, "It's FUN!" Why? "Because it's like multiplication!"
* I like the idea of practicing skip counting through a game. Skip counting is a foundational step toward developing understanding of multiplication. I think that alone makes it worthwhile.
* Sturdy box and colorful cards. Sturdy game boxes make me happy. :)

Additional Thoughts:
*Both my son and I felt like it was a little difficult to read the numbers on the card corners. While I was glad that a visual representation was included (beads), they were quite small and in the larger numbers got rather muddled as the beads spiraled due to the large number count.
*I think skip counting is a very important skill and foundational in learning multiplication (and this provides practice), but I'm not quite sold on the idea that this will "teach multiplication." The directions do suggest trying multiplication after the child is familiar with the increments in a deck by asking questions like, "What is the 1st (or 6th, etc.) number in Two Speed?" I suppose if you were really diligent about this, it could result in learning multiplication, but it's not how I'd approach it.
*We often finished the game in a tie because neither of us could lay the remaining few cards in our hand. While I don't think that all games need to end with one winner (probably best for those of us who have issues with competition!) I think it would be more fun to race to a certain conclusion. After we played awhile, we decided that the person with the least number of cards left was the winner. I'm tempted to alter our cards so that half of each deck is marked for one person and then play it more like one of our favorite games, Dutch Blitz. In that game, you play until the first person gets rid of his/her blitz pile of 10 cards...and the person with the most cards placed on the table would then win. (If anyone wants this alternative play strategy explained in more depth, holler.)

Bottom Line: If your kids (in the classroom or at home) are learning skip counting, you'll find this useful. With 8 decks, you could have up to 16 kids playing at once, all at their own level. While I personally wouldn't rely on it to teach multiplication, it does provide practice toward foundational understanding.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy and no other compensation. This is my personal opinion. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. My 7 yr old is not a fan of math, so I try to make it a game if I can. A math teacher at our homeschool program brought up the point that kids need to see a purpose in any game they play. I know winning isn't always everything, but it does give children a goal, so to speak.


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