Trying to find math inside everything else

Archive for July, 2012

Totally Radical

So I’ve been working on creating this board game, Totally Radical. (Tagline: Don’t Be a Square.) After some play-testing and adjustments, and bouncing ideas off of other teachers, I’m ready to post about it.

(But first, thanks to my co-teacher Sarah for helping come up with the game, my coworkers Cindy and Jenn and my Tweeps Max, Jami, and Jamie for playtesting.)

The idea behind the game came before I didn’t really have a good application for simplifying radicals. But I’ve been annoyed at how I see math games designed: do some math action and, if you are correct, you then get to do some game action. While this is certainly how some games work (like Trivial Pursuit), it just separates the math from the game and makes the math seem worthless. So I wanted a game where the math action WAS the game action.

You can read the rules of the game right here: Totally Radical Rules. During the game you have a choice of 5 actions: 3 involve actions we take when simplifying (breaking a number into two factors, taking a root and putting it outside the radical symbol, multiplying two terms together) while two are purely game actions (draw a card, play a special “Action” card).

Other touches of note: the factor cards are exactly half the size of the radicand cards, so that students break up “larger” numbers into “smaller” ones.

You can use factor cards on their own or combined into multi-digit numbers, like so:

(the top would be two factors, 2 and 5, and the bottom would be one factor, 25)
The numbers in the radicand cards are not just simple numbers. There’s prime numbers, composite numbers that can’t be simplified, perfect squares, as well as numbers that can be simplified (going all the way up to 250).

So, how can get this game, you may ask? Two ways!

Make It Yourself

If you want it for free, or are just in that #Made4Math mindset, you can print out the following files on card stock:

Prototype Factor Deck

Prototype Radicand Deck

Cut the cards out and label the backs. Print out the instructions (found here). You’ll also need to make a board: 4 big radical signs (I also recommend cardstock.) That might look something like this:

(I also drew in spots to put the card decks in).

Don’t want to make it or want the awesome one pictured above? Then go for option 2:

Buy It

I found this great website called The Game Crafter where you can send in artwork, pick out the pieces, etc, and they will print and construct the game for you. So if you click the button below, it should bring you to the shop to buy it.


Twitter Math Camp


I’m back from Twitter Math Camp, which was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve never made friends so easily, but I was so exhausted afterwards, because we pretty much spent 96 non-stop hours together (except for sleeping time). When people asked me if I had vacation plans this summer, I mentioned I was going to St. Louis for “a conference” and was told it didn’t count as vacation. But oh, it totally did.


I’m not sure whether I should blog about the conference or the after conference. I’m a terrible note-taker, so I’m sure others will better be able describe what went on, but highlights include spontaneously lesson-planning with Karim of Mathalicious, community-building and website ideas with Sam Shah, Megan‘s totally awesome Interactive Notebooks talk. But honestly some of the best sessions were the My Favorites… sessions, where people just went up for a few minutes and shared something awesome they did. And it was so much awesome. I also loved how, when something great was said, everyone in the room would say “Someone tweet that.”

As for after-conference events, Pi Pizzeria was actually quite good (and so I appreciate a Deep Dish Pizza as being something tasty, but not pizza). The brewery tour was nice, even though is was super-hot and I don’t like beer, but as before, the company was so good. Anyone going to St. Louis (or anywhere close) needs to visit the City Museum, an amazing experience, even if Max Ray did almost lose his wallet from up high. And I was convinced to go see Magic Mike by Julie and Sam, and seeing it with them and the other tweeps (like Marsha) made it hilarious. (Julie taught the whole audience a special dance!)


I think the thing that sums it up the most was our final activity:


I’ll post about my talk and what I shared later. Have a lot of chores to do now.


My Prototype Has Arrived

About a month ago I made the following tweet:

I’m still waiting to hear back from some of the play-testers, so a more in-depth post will have to wait, but I’m really excited because the prototype I had made arrived in the mail today!



I think I’ll bring it to Twitter Math Camp, see if the people there have thoughts.