Monthly Archives: December 2010

TOS Crew: Wits and Wagers game

One of the great things about being on the TOS Homeschool Crew is being introduced to new games.  Members of the Crew received Wits and Wagers Family Edition, a game that incorporates a little bit of trivia, a bit more of guessing, a fair amount of strategy, and a lot of fun!

The questions are phrased in a way that makes every answer a number. (How tall is the Eiffel Tower? How many Disney princesses are there?) You might know the answers to some of the questions already (How many yards in a mile?) but for a lot of them, you end up taking your best guess, along with everyone else.

You can score points even if you don’t get the right answer! There are points for coming closest to the right answer, and also points for picking the player you think is closest to the right answer.

Dry erase boards are included with the game, for keeping score and recording your answers to the questions. I really like this feature! It means we’ll never run out of answer sheets! Up to five individuals or five teams of players can participate at once.

Youngest likes the game because “older, wiser” players don’t have that much of advantage, even with their superior years and life experience. The rest of us like the game because it’s fast-paced, and the kid-friendly topics can be great conversation starters. (It was a hoot to watch Dad trying to count Disney princesses on his fingers…)

This is a fast-paced game that is quick to learn and easy to play. 3-10 players, ages 8 and up.

Wits and Wagers Family Edition is available at Amazon or in local stores with a suggested retail price of $19.99.

To see more TOS Crew reviews of this game, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew received free copies of Wits and Wagers Family Edition for review purposes. No additional compensation was involved. Opinions expressed here are our own family’s.


TOS Crew: Master Innovations (Master Angle)

I’m sold on manipulatives, in every subject area, but then I’m a concrete kind of thinker anyhow. When I read about history, I’m making pictures in my mind. Actually, that happens when I read about anything, and if I can’t make a picture, I’m in trouble.

Math, especially, has been a problem area for me. (No pun intended.) Math instruction in my day involved memorizing a lot of concepts without necessarily applying them. I think we just did paper-and-pencil math (or chalkboard math) and no manipulatives in my schooling. I say this because when as a homeschool mom I bought my first math manipulatives after a fruitless struggle with several book-based (read that as “pencil-and-paper”) math curricula, I began to learn how math worked, right alongside Eldest.

Master Innovations

Master Innovations is a company made up of people who have been figuring out ways to make math learning fun and interactive. Their first invention was the Master Ruler, and in the more than ten years since they’ve come up with more tools, including the Master Clock, Master Fractions, and the Master Angle. You can see videos introducing each of their products at their website.

Master Angle

Our family received the Master Angle tool and associated workbook, Mastering the World of Angles.

The Master Angle is a 360-degree protractor made of sturdy plastic. Small holes are punched through the plastic every five degrees so that you can use the tool to draw angles, as well as measure them. Grade level is upper elementary.

We had a lot of fun exploring the tool and setting up problems. Youngest was a little reluctant at first, because this was review for her. She covered angles a couple of years ago and has a pretty good grasp of how they work. However, I asked her to go through Mastering the World of Angles with me so that she could give a student’s opinion of the presentation.

The examples, explanations, and problems are presented in a concrete, interesting way — for example, students are given real-life representations of concepts (train tracks are parallel lines, street intersections are intersecting lines) and asked to come up with their own examples.

There’s a lot of practical, hands-on application in the workbook, and when we’d gone all the way through, Youngest elected to keep the tool in her pencil box for future use. Now that’s an endorsement!

A Master Angle is $5.95, and the accompanying workbook is $15.95. The workbook is reproducible for students within your own family or individual classroom. Here’s a link to the order page.

Marvels of Measurement Poster

We also received an educational poster showing relationships in linear measurement, weight and volume. Youngest knew how to measure an inch or a cubit, but it was interesting to compare the distance from our wrists to our elbows and come up with 8 inches (the poster said it should be a foot, but maybe that’s for a man. Come to think of it, that would make sense — that “foot” plus the length of a man’s hand would probably be about a cubit.

It was interesting to talk about the different representations on the poster (for example, fractions of a pound, dividing down to ounces, and liquid measures that she’s already familiar with through her cooking). The poster, once again, appeals to concrete thinking with its practical, everyday examples used to approximate various measurements.

See more about this poster at this link.

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Master Innovations products, click here.

Disclaimer: Our family received the Master Angle, accompanying workbook, and an educational poster about measurement, at no cost for the purpose of this review. No additional compensation was involved.