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Math A Big Deal Cards: An Educational Math Card Game Review by Stacy Kalisz

Connie Newville, M.Ed.
Math A Big Deal

Math A Big Deal is a simple yet effective card game that helps children reinforce basic math concepts. The card deck consists of the numbers 1-20 (with multiples of 1-10) and a "greater than" symbol. Instructions for ten different games are also included. Games cover elementary math concepts such as place value, addition, subtraction, fractions, and multiplication. The cards are protected in a sturdy, plastic case.

This product is intended for kindergarten through sixth grade. Five and six year olds will only be able to play a few of the games, whereas eight to ten year olds can play most, if not all, of the games included in the deck. Some games are very simple, such as Before and After, in which a number card that comes before or after the one previously played must be used (perfect for younger children.) More complicated games, like Target Addition, help children think strategically as well as mathematically. Many of the instruction cards also include directions for making games more challenging if needed.

Most games require nothing more than the card deck. The only extras necessary are one pair of dice (for one game) and some elbow macaroni (or something similar) to be used as commas when displaying large numbers. A pencil and paper may be useful when figuring some of the problems.

My family enjoyed playing Math a Big Deal. In fact, it was very helpful for my 8-year-old, who greatly dislikes math. Some of the games were fairly easy for her; others were more difficult. But all of them enabled her to practice and improve math skills in a fun way. Playing is much less stressful than completing endless worksheets! It was also quality time, since she was playing these with her Mom.

Math a Big Deal worked well in our homeschool, as I believe it would in most others. While it was necessary for me to instruct and help my child, older children (or those more proficient in math) could use the deck with very little parental involvement. I feel the games would also be extremely beneficial to those who are hands-on or visual learners.

There are a number of pros that make Math a Big Deal a worthy investment. (1) The cards themselves are high quality--much more durable than cheap playing cards. (2) The deck is compact and easy to transport. (3) The games can be played immediately; little to no advance preparation is needed. (4) The games provide an enjoyable math experience that develops skills without the drudgery of worksheets. The only con is that some games require two players only (others go up to four players). Larger families may find this limitation frustrating.

In conclusion, Math a Big Deal brings fun and learning together in a simple, easy-to-use card deck. Regular use should greatly improve math proficiency. I highly recommend it.

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010