Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Box Cars And One-Eyed Jacks


Here’s a living math confession for you: I’ve been sitting on a wonderful company who sells fantastic books loaded with math games. The games are outstanding and we’ve had so much fun playing the games that I don’t think my kids realize they are working on some valuable math skills.
We’re currently enjoying Shuffle Into Math with Volume 1 while we anxiously await the arrival of All Hands On Deck (Volume 2). We were first introduced to these books when I did a quick google search a while back. I stumbled upon a sampling of Box Cars & One Eyed Jacks games, and we’ve enjoyed trying out many of those freebies. 
This week, I decided to do something unusual for our math lessons. I allowed each boy computer time while I played a game with the other. Normally we play our math games all together because.
I felt Morgan could really use some work on carrying and borrowing because it’s a topic we’ve covered but only lightly. With his ever increasing need to use numbers I thought it would be wise to cover this topic again. So I challenged him to a game of To Sum It Up. The idea is to take a deck of cards and use 0-9. If you don’t have a deck of Box Cars & One Eyed Jacks awesome math cards you can use a regular deck of cards and simply assign certain face cards to 0. Or, use a deck of Uno cards.
The players (we chose to play against each other, but you can easily have as many or as few players as you want) take turns flipping over cards. They then chose to place the number they’ve flipped over between 6-9 boxes on the game board
The game board provided has room for 9 digits to be added together. We chose to only play with 6 digits as we learned how to play. I’m not keen on the game board provided simply because there isn’t room between the boxes for writing down the combined totals. I’ve promised Morgan a revised board game for our rematch.
We had a lot of fun with this game, and while the key of the game is adding I think it does a great job of reminding them of place value. In fact, it reminded Morgan of our Place Value Game and he was questioning the rules lack of tossing out a number.
Because I didn’t feel Jayden was ready for borrowing I decided to play Junior Star Traveler. The idea is to use cards numbered between 1-6 in a deck. Again you can use whatever you have. We commonly use Uno cards around here for math time, but do happen to have a set of official Box Cars & One Eyed Jacks’ math cards zooming our way.
After shuffling the card you’ll make a 4x6 grid of cards face up on your playing surface. The player(s) then roll a die and try to match up cards on the board to numbers rolled on the dice. This can be done with addition or subtraction; and a player can remove up to 3 cards at a time. Unfortunately, if you can’t come up with anything you color one of the five points of a star. The idea is to remove all the cards before you color in your star. 

Jayden loved playing this game and did really well for himself. The game is meant to be either a solo version or a team effort, but it’s been played in turns around here as well with all of us working to keep the same star from winning. This game was such a hit he decided to teach Daddy how to play it last night after dinner. He then proceeded to pound on the bathroom door while I was trying to wash my hair to ask if it was okay to show Morgan how to play it this morning. You gotta love it when they love their math lessons so much they ask to do more.

Notes: I've linked up with the Australian dealer for Box Cars & One Eyed Jacks, but there's also an American dealer which can be found here. I believe there is also a Canadian company who sells the game manuals as well which can be found here.  I made the game board for Junior Star Traveler and if you click on it you can snag the "gameboard" we used. When I get the gameboard for To Sum It Up made I'll post an update with a link.