My seventh grade son worked hard and finished his math curriculum in April. I did not want to start him on a new one yet or give him work that made him feel like his hard work just meant that he had to do even more math. However, I did want to keep his skills fresh in his mind. I was very excited to see if Middle School Math Games by The Critical Thinking Co. might be just what I needed: a chance to review skills while having fun with games.
We received the digital version of this book, which allowed us to print out the games as needed and print out extra copies of the score sheets for those games that used score sheets. There are 16 different games included in Middle School Math Games and each game also includes several different variations.
When we first reviewed this book, it had been my hope that my son could play these games either independently or with his slightly younger sister who is finishing fifth grade. However, most of the games really required at least two people to play them and the math required was too difficult for my daughter in many cases (which is very understandable since it is supposed to be middle school level). Therefore, either I helped my daughter a bit or I would play with my son.
I loved that the games really reinforced the math concepts. I think games are a great way to reinforce learning but sometimes educational games can be mostly fun and very little learning. These games were very tied to the math concepts. For example, one of our favorite games was “What Are My Coordinates?”This game was very similar to a popular board game from my childhood where you tried to guess the location of ships using coordinates. Instead of ships, you were guessing at the location of quadrilaterals with the help of area and perimeter. This was a great review of coordinate planes, area, perimeter, and various quadrilaterals.
Another game that they enjoyed was, “Lets Sum Up: Odd or Even? Positive or Negative?” This game used dice and an activity sheet to work on positive and negative numbers, odd and even number concepts as well as critical thinking skills. The children decided on various operations to do with the numbers rolled, on the dice, in order to try and achieve a specific result. If you wanted to make that game more challenging you could add squaring and square roots as possible operations. My two oldest children played this together but my daughter needed a lot of support.
Another game was number bingo, not identifying numbers but solving equations and then locating that number on their bingo boards. There were several different sheets of equations so that you could play multiple times. They also did a great job of allowing as many students as needed to play this game by having blank bingo cards with the answers down at the bottom as a list of numbers. Before the game, students could each write the numbers on their cards in whatever order they chose.
There were games that had students trying to guess the operation, make a certain number with a given set of numbers using any operations they chose, ordering decimals, working with prime numbers, and even reviewing math vocabulary.
The games were generally very ‘print and go’ making them easy to set up. The few supplies that were required were basic supplies like graph paper, dice, and index cards. In addition to basic math skills, the games did a good job of having the students apply those skills using their critical thinking and not just do basic computation.
We felt like this book had a lot of great games and ideas but it was challenging to make it fit into a one middle schooler homeschool. With the games generally needing at least two players the parent needs to plan to play with the child or have another middle school or above student who can also participate. I think it would be a perfect fit for someone who was teaching at a co-op or had two students in middle school or above.
In addition to this Middle School Math Games book, the Review Crew has reviewed a variety of wonderful resources by The Critical Thinking Co. and I invite you to use the link below to take at look at all of the different options. The Critical Thinking Co has also been generous enough to offer my readers Free Shipping and 15% off any order through 12/31/2019. I encourage you to go to the website and take a look at all of their wonderful products. You can also check out the review I did last year of their Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary book.
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