Posted in Math, Misc. Ramblings

Who Needs a New Math Game….YOU do!

As a child of the 70s and 80s, before the internet and electronics, I grew up playing games.  We’d spend Sunday afternoons at my Grandparents playing card and board games with our cousins.  While I love technology I feel like there are so many important lessons that children miss out on by only playing electronic games.  Not only do they miss out on the social skills you gain by playing games but also children (as well as teenagers) miss out on learning how to strategize, problem solve, and think critically in a fun and engaging way.  So as a teacher and parent I strive to bring games to my children and students.  It’s an important part of learning.

So…I could go on all day about some of the games I have found and fallen in love with over the years but today I want to share with you a brand new game I just received; Boom Goes the Dynamite!  I saw this game on Facebook when they launched their Kickstarter campaign.  I was so intrigued and excited by their game that I actually contributed to their kickstarter campaign and thus received my copy cheaper than what it costs on the shelf and got mine before it is in stores.

Disclaimer…Let me also note that I have not received anything to promote this game – I purchased the game on my own and the opinions here are my own.

So…let me tell you why I love it…

This game is basically a match game on steroids…meaning not only do you match numbers but players use addition and subtract to make cards that they flip over that don’t match….match!  When I saw it I knew it would be great for our early grade students (K-2 and even grade 3).  Now, if you get the game you will discover a couple of x2 and /2 cards in the deck.  You can simply remove those when you only want to add and subtract.  So for grades K-2 I would take those out and then as they learn about multiplication and division, in grade 3, you can put them back in.

Tonight I played the game with my 15 year old and I secretly think he had fun!  Of course it doesn’t help that he beat me!  The game only took us about 8 minutes to play.

Check out the video of how to play!  If you decide you want to purchase be sure to click the link above to purchase from their kickstarter campaign.  You can also like the game Facebook page.

Posted in Math, Misc. Ramblings

Fact Fact Off!

Who couldn’t use a quick and easy new game to practice addition and multiplication facts that is fun and involves a little bit of strategy?  My eleven year old son, Ben, and I dreamed up this little game this evening.  This is a game that you could use in your classroom OR played at home and can be adapted in lots of different ways.

Materials:  You will need a standard deck of cards with jokers.

Card Values:  For this game we designated the Joker as a wild card, meaning you could make it any number you want when it is played.  We made all of the Aces = 1, Jacks = 10, and Queens and Kings = 11.


  1. Shuffle all of the cards and place them face down in a pile.
  2. Each person takes 3 cards (and hides them so that no one, but themselves, can see them).
  3. When each round begins, each player chooses a card from their hand and lays it face down in front of them.
  4. After both players have a face down card each player takes one of the remaining cards from their hand and places it face up beside their opponent’s face down card, as shown below.  So, in fact you are giving your opponent a card which they will use to make an equation in the next round.
  5. Both players turn over their original card and multiply the card they were given by the card they had placed face down.
  6. The players both state their equation and product.  For the hand show above Ben had 6 x 11 = 66 and I had 8 x 10 = 80 so I would win all 4 cards.
  7. The player with the highest product wins the round and takes all of the cards on the table (4).
  8. At the end of the round each player will have 1 card left in their hand.  They will save this card for the next round.
  9. At the beginning of each round players take 2 more cards so that they have a total of 3 cards in their hand (this gives players some choice in what they play) and repeat steps 3-8 until all the cards from the face down pile are gone.
  10. When all rounds are complete players count the cards they won and the player with the most cards wins.

Special notes:

  • If a player places a joker on the table they will state the number they want it to be when they state their equation and product.
  • If the product is the same, play a second round and the player with the highest product will win all 8 cards instead of 4.


  • For younger grades use addition.  Players will find the sum of the two cards.
  • To make the addition more difficult you could have players take 4 cards and lay 2 face down in addition to the one their opponent gives them.  Then players would find the sum of 3 addends.  In this variation, the player with the highest sum would take the 6 cards on the table instead of 4.
  • You can always change up the value of the face cards.  For example Jacks could be 10, Queen could be 11, and King could be 12.

The possibilities are endless!  We made a little video to help explain the rules.  We hope you enjoy the game and share it with your students!