Product Reviews - The Old Schoolhouse


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Math Maze Review by Jennifer Pepito

Math Maze USA
811 North Catalina Ave., Ste 3000
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Math Maze is an innovative new card game that includes a set of number cards printed with the numerals from 1 to 10, dots to represent the number, and the number word both in English and Spanish. Also included is a number bar with the four major operations printed on it. The game is designed to develop math skills in a fun and entertaining way using a very hands-on method. My daughter and I tested the game together but found the actual playing to be slightly more complicated than it first appeared. The object is to be the first player to be rid of all your cards. As we rolled the die and laid out the first problem, we saw that solving the math problems with single digit cards could prove difficult. For instance, when I rolled the operation multiply and the numbers represented were 8 and 3, I couldn't from my limited stack of cards come up with a 2 and a 4 or the addends to make that number. There is a Mathematics Function Bar available with only add and subtract that could be more fun and easier to implement than the one with all four operations. It was definitely easier finding a 5 to solve 8 - 3 than it had been trying to solve either the multiplication or division problems. However, even when we played with just the add and subtract bar, we were not sure what some of the directions meant or what we were to do with the cards after a play. The game is compact and appealing as a tool for drill, but I can see that it is not necessarily for a beginning math student. And my daughter seemed to lose interest before we could really figure out how the game is played. As a tool for recreational math, it needs some work in our opinion. As a handy deck for learning numbers and number words, it looks great.

Product review by Jennifer Pepito, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2006

Another review:

Not just another card game, Math Maze is a fast paced game for students from kindergarten up. The game can be played with 2-6 players. Math Maze challenges learners with the four basic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The starter set uses only whole numbers, while the mastery set increases in difficulty by introducing negative numbers and fractions.

So, how do you play? How is this game different? Math Maze includes a set of red cards, a set of green cards, and oddly shaped dice. The dice are actually hexagonal rods rolled to show which operation will be used during a players turn. Players begin play with 7 green cards that show whole numbers in the Starter Set. Red Factor Cards are placed face up in a stack for everyone to see. The first player rolls the function rod. There are three rods to choose from, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division or a rod that has all four operations. The player then uses the cards in his hands to form an equation using the function bar and the number card in the red pile. For example, if the red card is 8 and the player rolls a + sign, he may put down any number card in his hand of green cards. After placing his card face up for all to see, a math problem is formed and stated by everyone. It may be 8 (red card) + 5 (green card) and then everyone states the answer = 13. The next player must place down any combination of his cards that equal 13. The idea is to get rid of your cards, so using lots of cards is useful. If the player cannot go, he must pick another green card; then play continues with the next player rolling the function bar and a new equation being made. The game goes on until a player has used all his green cards.

In the mastery game, the green cards include both positive and negative numbers, as do the red cards. Play continues the same way, with answers being either positive or negative whole numbers. Advanced play adds the challenge of fractions to the red card pile.

I love this game! I have a math-challenged child and a math lover in my home. We all enjoyed this game. My favorite part is that everyone gives the answer to the equation. So, if a player doesn't know the answer, he is not put on the spot to find it. He simply has to find a way to form the answer with his cards. It's a great way to bring some math fun into your school day while practicing math problems. I do think the prices of $14.95 and $19.95 for the Starter Set and Mastery Set is a little high. The packaging is a small plastic box that holds the decks of cards and the function rods. While I had a large copy of directions, the game actually comes with directions that are printed in very small text. The sheet included the Math Maze jingle, which seemed a complete waste of space. I would prefer to see the directions printed larger so that they would be easier to read.

Overall, if you are looking for a new, fun way to practice math problems, this game may be just what you are looking for!

Product review by Katherine Averill, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011