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Maths, 'fun'?! Impossible surely?
on 12 December 2012
I bought this for my two little home-educated relatives (aged 7 and 4), in order to try and find some way to make Mathematics more of a 'friendly' subject. I was certainly pretty crap at it, although I think that was 70% down to the way it was presented to me, and only 40% down to my having no talent in the subject whatsoever...
We have never played this in the manner that its inventors intended. Rather, we use it as a way of tackling some of the more terrifying components of the subject (fractions, percentages... the real heavy-mob, although fortunately nothing sadistic like long multiplication and division. Wow, did someone just walk over my grave?). There is an immense amount of information on each card (they're brightly coloured too, very smart) and we felt that trying to get the girls to memorise both the data and the mathematical torture method against the clock was the wrong approach. Hence, we hold the cards up and have a general chat about the concepts shown, and then we go through the questions on the back WHILE we are looking at the card together. The kids often want to go and organise their own bar graphs and things after that, so our approach is managing to instill a real interest in this intimidating little subject. Although, of course, it really isn't that scary at all, not when it's approached from the right angle. There has certainly been a significant change in my own perception of Maths, now that I can actually witness some of these ideas genuinely 'making sense' to the children in such a fun, no pressure way.
It says '7 and up' on the box and obviously if you play it 'properly' that might well be the case. But my little four year old friend can easily decipher a lot of these cards. There's one made up of a bar chart for instance, brightly coloured and well-annotated, and she rattles through the answers to that one like Carol Vorderman.
It's a great product, the real genius of it being that it is a perfectly acceptable gift. I only wish I'd had something like it when I was seven. Or even thirty seven.