Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Pyramath

Speed drills don’t work for everybody. Take it from someone who flunked every single Friday speed drill in fourth grade math…until my dear mother worked with me one-on-one to help me master the math facts. After that, I took off and aced every single drill. But the drilling didn’t cement the facts in my mind…it only proved that the facts were already cemented.

But if your student is having trouble getting up to speed (ahem), and you’re thinking you might need some fancy software or workbooks…maybe all you really need it the the right deck of cards.

Pyramath is an amazing game from I See Cards. It can be played alone or head-to-head (if your kiddos like a bit of competition---there’s nothing quite like beating dear old Mom). So what’s so special about this deck of cards? Why can’t we just play “Math War” with a regular deck of 52?

These cards are a little special. In addition to having the proper distribution of the numbers 0-9 to play the game (and that is important in this game), they are also labeled with Roman numerals and the names of the numbers in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and French. Do my kiddos even notice that? Nope, totally lost on them. I could bring it to their attention, but as the point is to increase our calculating speed, it’s not really a priority.

What really sets this game apart is the game itself. The game is fabulous. And highly addictive (try the free online version of Pyramath to see for yourself, you might even win your own deck of cards---you can read the rules here).

While most math card games seem to only concentrate on one operation or another at a time, in Pyramath you can use addition, subtraction, multiplication and even division to try to build your pyramid before your opponent. This is great, too, if you are working with kiddos of varying abilities---I could have my 1st grader play against my 5th grader, but using different operations.

Most math card games don’t require much in the way of thinking or developing a strategy. In Math War (addition), for example, yeah, you can practice adding up the numbers, but who wins is really up to chance. There’s no strategy whatsoever. In Pyramath, after playing a few games, your kiddos will very quickly figure out that it’s possible to not be able to finish your pyramid. In fact, it’s likely at least one of you won’t finish if you are playing the 7-card version head-to-head…unless you play your cards right.

Engagement. Not mindless regurgitation. Love it.

It’s fun to see the kiddos really giving their brains a workout. Even if it is to beat the pants off of me.

And the best part…this is not some \$25 game with a million pieces to lose. Only \$6.95!

Be sure to check out their other games, like Fractazmic and Prime Bomb.

You can read more reviews on this product at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free deck of Pyramath cards for review purposes. I received no compensation. This review reflects my personal opinions and experiences.