Tarquin's new games, the 6 packs of Maths Trumps, are launched this month. Using games well in education is never easy. But revision and reinforcement are often dull and verging on rote and repetitious. Maths Trumps can be part of the armoury for teachers and parents wanting to get children going with mathematical facts and thinking about the mathematics they learn...without feeling they are.
So in this piece we look at how different user groups can employ Maths Trumps to reach the parts that other games just cannot reach.
1. Children and students of any age
Obviously, for children of 8 and over, playing a game is a natural process. Maths Trumps use the well known principle of trumps card games - competing players in effect "bid" facts to collect cards from other players until they have the whole pack. Paul Hunt's games have brilliantly converted mathematical facts into biddable form, themed around particular types of activitiy. Playing the games will feel natural to children - but also to adult learners, and any adults that play the games with children.
We think that some of the "disguised" mathematical games in the Darts, Snooker and Connections packs will also be great for learners who are resistant to learning more formally.
Building on the above, parents can pick a topic or topics and get them playing the games to reinforce topics that they are not comfortable with. So Positive and Negative numbers is a topic that is difficult to practice with a child with a mental block on the topic without hitting a brick wall. They don't want to do lots more calculations on a page to practice. Get them playing! 2D Shape and 3D Shape are likewise great focused ways to learn and reinforce key facts.
But if a parent just wants to get children using their mathematics quickly and with confidence then any of the games would be excellent.
3. Solitaire Version
It could be really useful to get children playing on their own to learn, revise or for fun. Instructions how to play alone are downloadable here.
4. Mathematics Clubs
For older primary and younger secondary students, Maths Trumps packs will be a great addition to the repetoire in a club - fun and easy to play, but as stated above, perfect for developing mathematical fluency and confidence. Bonus questions in each pack are designed to stretch able students and give those keen enough to stretch themselves a faster way to win.
5. In Class - Maths Trumps for Teachers
At first sight, it might be difficult to see how one could use a card game in a class. Here are some thoughts, based on real experience using just one pack of the Positive and Negative card game.