The beautiful colorful mathematical game is now an award-winning game too.
Prime Climb was created by Daniel Finkel and Katherine Cook of the company Math for Love, a Seattle-based organization devoted to transforming how math is taught and learned. As a parent to a primary school student, I’ve had to become acquainted with ‘new math’ vs. “old math” (which essentially means how I learned – ha!) in the ways of Common Core and some of it has been more of a lesson for me on how I can help my daughter with her homework! From Singapore Math to Kumon worksheets, understanding the latest math curricula can be a bit daunting to parents. By the time your children are in primary school, math curricula already plays an important role in their school day. Quote honestly, the most important thing to me regarding math and my children is that each of my girls is able to grasp mathematical concepts being taught before they more forward to the next concept in their curricula. However, I realize there are a lot of beneficial educational math products to help children grasp mathematical concepts designed to provide a richer understanding of math, and Prime Climb is one of them.
Is there a “best” way to teach math?
Math curricula studies about their effectiveness are actually conducted by the publishers that sell their own math curricula. These studies are often submitted to What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an arm of the Department of Education, that reviews studies that meet their criteria. Many of the studies are actually rejected, and the WWC reviews are not always clear which makes the complex world of math curricula even more difficult to understand. There are few studies that allow apples-to-apples comparisons of math curricula effectiveness.
Math for Love is one organization that is thinking about the way we teach math in a new way through their Prime Climb game which is a game of strategy and luck for 2-4 players and takes roughly 10 minutes to play per person. The Prime Climb game is very creative was lots of fun for my husband and I to play and it reinforces mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in a way that is simple for us to understand. Below is the rundown:
In the Prime Climb Game Box:
- Prime Climb board
- 24 Prime cards
- Multiplication table reference sheet
- Two 10-sided dice
- Eight pawns (two pawns per person)
What’s a Prime Number? The Prime Climb is based on understanding Prime Numbers. A Prime Number can be divided evenly only by 1 or itself. A prime number must be a whole number greater than 1. The Prime numbers that go up to 101 (the final circle in the Prime Climb game) are numbers; 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, and 101.
Great for children ages 10 and up
The Prime Climb Game is a mathematical board game designed for children age 10 and up and for 2 to 4 players. However, with parental involvement, it is possible to play with younger children, but it is not the main target audience for this game. We learned pretty quickly that the game was a little over Brooke’s head, but she was interested in watching us play and I enjoyed showing her how the game works. You play by rolling the dice and add, subtract, multiply and divide your way to the center of the board, picking up Prime cards and bumping your opponents back to start as you go. The winner of the game is the first person to land both pawns on 101, which is the big red circle at the center of the spiral. The beauty of the game is that no one has to keep score and the situation can change at any time; going from first to last place in a second! This game is simple enough for kids (ages 10 and up), and dynamic enough for professional mathematicians. Prime Climb is a perfect game for families & schools, kids & adults.
Using the Colors!
Everyone can learn to multiply and divide using Prime Climb’s unique color coding. Inspire deeper mathematical understanding while mastering arithmetic. The Prime Climb board is color-coded to make multiplication and division easy. Every time you multiply, the colors of the two numbers multiplied together are combined.
For example, say you have a pawn at 14 and one of your rolls is a 3. You decide to multiply 14 by 3, but aren’t sure what that product is. The colors will tell you. Notice that 14 is orange and purple, while 3 is green. That means that 14 times 3 will be orange, purple, and green. The only circle with exactly those colors is 42, which is 14 times 3. Awesome, right? That some color coding works for division in the game, too, and it’s a simple way to move the game forward pretty quickly.
A turn consists of four phases: Roll, Move, Bump, and Draw.
Roll the dice. The two numbers you roll will be used, one at a time, to move your pawns. In other words, if you roll a 3 and a 5, you have a 3 and a 5 to use on your turn; you do not get to use an 8, a 15, or a 35.
In the case of doubles, you may use the number you rolled four times instead of twice. The “0” on the dice stands for “10.” You must use all your rolls.
During your Move Phase, you add, subtract, multiply, or divide the number your pawn is on by a number you rolled and send that pawn to the resulting number. You must use all of your rolled numbers, one at a time. If you have Keeper cards, you may choose to play one or more of them before, between, or after applying your dice rolls. Your pawns may land on any space on the board, including occupied spaces. Pawns may never move to a space not on the board, such as negative numbers, non-whole numbers, or numbers greater than 101.
Example. Say you have a pawn on 14, and you roll a 3 and a 9. You could, if you chose, subtract 3 from 14 to land on 11, then multiply 11 by 9 to move to 99. Note that each die is applied one at a time. You cannot multiply 3 times 9 and use 27 for your move.
For more details, see the examples further on in these rules.
If you end your Move Phase with either of your pawns on the same space as another pawn, send the pawn you landed on back to Start. Bumping is not optional.
Note: You can bump your own pawns.
Note: You bump a pawn only when you end your turn on an occupied space, not when you pass through an occupied space.
Example. You have a pawn on 31. Your opponents have pawns on 33 and 37. You roll a 2 and a 4, which you apply by adding the 2 to move from 31 to 33, and then adding the 4 to move from 33 to 37. You bump the pawn on 37 back to Start. You do not bump the pawn on 33 back to Start, since you did not end your Move Phase on 33.
You draw a Prime Card after your Move and Bump Phases are completed if
a) At least one of your pawns is on an entirely red space (i.e., a prime number greater than 10), and
b) That pawn did not begin its turn on that space.
You may draw only one card per turn, even if both your pawns end on red spaces. No card trading is allowed!
There are two types of Prime cards:
- Keeper Cards
If you draw a Keeper Card, keep that card, face up, for a future turn. You may play any number of Keeper Cards during your Move Phase. You may not play a Keeper card the turn you draw it.
- Action Cards
Any card that does not say Keeper on it is an Action Card. When you draw an Action Card, immediately perform the action the card requires. If the Action Card requires you to move your one of own pawns, you must move the pawn that landed on the red space; if both your pawns moved to red spaces that turn, you may choose the pawn the card applies to. If an Action Card takes your pawn to an occupied space on the board, bump the pawn you land on back to Start. If an Action Card takes your pawn to a new red space, do not draw another Prime Card. In some positions, Action Cards may have no effect.
101 and Winning the Game
When your first pawn reaches the 101 circle exactly, remove it from the board. You cannot move to a number past 101, or “bounce off” 101.
Example. You want to apply a roll of 7 to pawn on 98. You cannot roll to 101 by adding, and cannot roll forward 3 and back 4 to end at 97. The only options available are to subtract to end at 91, or divide to end at 14.
After your first pawn reaches 101, you must apply all dice rolls to your remaining pawn. You win immediately when you can apply a die roll or Keeper card to land your second pawn on 101. You do not have to use both die rolls on your winning move.
Do not draw a Prime Card when you land on 101.
Want more? Read the entire rules of Prime Climb HERE!
While Bob and I loved playing Prime Climb, I was really interested in finding a Math for Love game geared towards younger children so we could play the game with Brooke. Daniel Finkel from Math for Love filled me in on some upcoming new math game releases geared toward younger players. YES! I don’t have a lot of details yet, but will be keeping tabs on when their new games are released.
Coming Soon! Math for Love is at the beginning stages of new math games for younger players. First up is the upcoming release of Prime Climb Jr! as well as another mathematical game that is geared towards the ages of my kids. I can’t wait to review and will keep you posted!
Prime Climb is a winner many awards, including:
- Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award Winner
- Tilliwig Brain Child Award Winner
- Dr. Toy Best 10 Educational 2015 Award Winner
- Dr. Toy Best 100 2015 Award Winner
- Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Winner
- Recommended by American Mensa
Prime Climb Game is:
- An award-winning, beautiful, colorful, mathematical board game
- Color-coded board makes multiplication and division as easy as combining colors
- Easy to learn
- Perfect for 2-4 players, ages 10 and up. Also great for younger players with adult guidance
- Dynamic mix of strategy and luck makes Prime Climb endlessly re-playable.
Parents – Definitely check out the Math for Love website which offers wonderful resources like Professional Development, Lesson Plans, Math for Kids, and Games for your budding mathematician. I feel that the more involvement a parent has in the education of their children, the better, and the Prime Climb game is a fun and simple way to bring multiplication, division, and Prime Numbers all in one easy to play game. Awesome!
List Price: $ 35.00 (Available through Amazon Prime)