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cheap maths toys ?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by teena3, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Hi - happy half term - for most anyway.
    Where is the best place to stock up on things like
    counters, loaded dice, giant playing cards etc ?
    I know there is always Amazon ( but they always seem to be from separate companies with about £3 postage for each item) but just wondered if you knew of a great place to get maths equipment where I could get the whole lot in one go and even get some good ideas of other toys .
    Also do you find it so much harder to teach topics like probability when so many no longer play cards or board games so have no experience of playing cards or dice - or is it just the kids where I live?
    Thanks
     
  2. Hi - happy half term - for most anyway.
    Where is the best place to stock up on things like
    counters, loaded dice, giant playing cards etc ?
    I know there is always Amazon ( but they always seem to be from separate companies with about £3 postage for each item) but just wondered if you knew of a great place to get maths equipment where I could get the whole lot in one go and even get some good ideas of other toys .
    Also do you find it so much harder to teach topics like probability when so many no longer play cards or board games so have no experience of playing cards or dice - or is it just the kids where I live?
    Thanks
     
  3. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    BEAM has a great selection of resources.
    Tarquin have some things too.
    You may find that the standard company that your school buys its exercise books, etc from will also have some of the things you want. We use ESPO, for example and they will sell us everything from dice to filing cabinets!
    I am not sure of the prices of these links, but there are often special offers in Tesco or other supermarkets for playing cards, etc.
    Do let us know what you get and where you get it!


     
  4. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    This is true for me too. I suspect we were brought up in a halcyon age where dice and cards were used frequently, but did _all_ children play board games, or was it a predominantly middle class thing?
    While they may be missing out on dice and cards nowadays, many of the games that people play on iPods involve problem-solving and strategy (and informal understanding of some physics), so maybe there are different things that they gain from the games they play nowadays.
     
  5. I have stopped using plying cards for probability as so many kids have either limited or no kowledge of a deck and in a way Im not sure its fair to expect all kids have had access to them..
    Saying that my year 11s couldnt find the pobability of picking a vowel from the alphabet when only one letter was chosen [​IMG]
    Back to the question, www.play.com is not a 'one stop shop' for such items but some cracking deals come up if you subscribe to their mailing list and they have some quirky items too.
    I had some good quality A4 playing cards for a quid and a lovely wooden version of the Towers of Hanoi for the same amount.
     
  6. September

    September New commenter

    99p store. They do a double pack of large playing cards for £1.
    Questions still come up about playing cards so it is still worthwhile teaching it. Grab a cheap book on patience games also and teach the students.
     
  7. when actually playing board games, i find children don't even know to take it in turns going round the board, so unless i make this explicit, they go in random order and lose track of whose turn it is next
    i have been assured by older teachers that in times gone by most chidren did know board-game playing basics
     
  8. It was really common at secondary school level Florapost, particularly with very rough classes at the most difficult times of the week. I last saw it about three years ago from a teacher who was close to retirement and couldn't care what anyone thought. All the tough lads sitting round quietly and happily playing dominoes.
    It was from the the days when teachers were responsible for deciding what their students should do. So if they felt it was best to have 3 hard working positive lessons and then a 'reward' lesson which dealt with all the discipline issues (time for students who'd been naughty or absent to catch stuff up, time for quite words with individuals), taught the students colloborative working skills, built up their concrete contexts in which future maths would be based and during which the teachers teased out mathematical awarenesses from the games without the students noticing then they could do that.
    Just as well all that evil behaviour was stamped out and the teachers who did it systematically labelled as being unsatificatory.


     
  9. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Really ? I cant thing of a recent exam were playing card knowledge has been required - and to be fair I think that is correct - we are testing maths skills not cards
     
  10. whilst what you go on to describe sounds both sensible and fun, i am talking estate-intake infants school ie most children had learned basic board games skills at home - but that would have been 20 to 30 years ago
     
  11. oh - and at primary level - i get mine to play 'pairs' with the black or red half of a pack of cards, to get them used to the structure of the pack
     
  12. Thanks everyone. So helpful - as always.
    Will get some loaded dice and giant playing cards from Amazon and try to twist my HOD's arm for some more counters from County Supplies - would just like my own set rather than keep trying to track down where the dept pack has gone to.
    As for the relevance of playing cards and board games -well there are still a number of questions in the text books - and I keep hoping that soon this society will remember the simple games where we play as teams, face to face, using some thinking skills but I obviously speak as someone who has never really seen the fascination for the console games - though I have tried with my own kids I just get a bit restless when we play them.
     
  13. If anyone's interested in the justification for playing games one of the global experts is a lady called Jane McGonigal who's recently written a book called 'Reality is Broken'.
    There's a cheap paperback version of it on the UK Amazon site, but here's a link to the US Amazon site because there's much more information there and a video of her talking about the issues.
    http://www.amazon.com/Reality-Broken-Games-Better-Change/dp/1594202850/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298229559&sr=8-1
    As a parent I find it a bit hard sometimes to play board games with my children because the skills gap is so big its artificial and some of the benefit of true competition is lost (apart from the effect of the destructomaniac 2-year-old). It's much more natural for groups of children to play together and, of course, families are smaller now. Anyway we were playing the pizza fractions game from Yellow Moon yesterday which is great. Harry Potter Cluedo is awesome too!
    I also spent a fair chunk of my GCSE years playing cards....... which the teacher tried to cope with the introduction of the 50% coursework GCSE where we all had to design and do our own coursework. It was nice! It gave us a chance to become enthusiastic about maths.
     
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    She says that the average young American person will spend 10,000 hours a week playing games; I had no idea that Americans has their own version of timekeeping as well as of the English language, although perhaps the second explains the first.
     
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter


    This never would have been a problem in the 1980s. With all the strikes card games were often the only things pupils learnt in classrooms.
     
  16. What were they then Vince?
    Teena is right - we wrote long extended original work based on concrete experiences with games. It was interesting! The Dime probability experiments were deliberately designed to tease out all the key awarenesses in probability.
    Top trumps are great for all sorts of stuff. They're doing really good ones free with Cheese strings at the minute. The data includes large numbers, negative numbers and decimals (in millions). You get 6 free in each pack which makes for nice short games.[​IMG] Essentially the data is about countries (miles from the UK, minimum temp, population in millions etc.) so your students could make their own about countries and play with them.
    Top trumps is lovely basis for talking about median, mode and mean. Which would the students rather be given for each category to aid their strategy? But they do need to have played and build up a competitive spirit for this to make sense.
    We've got a bit off topic.[​IMG]
     

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