SimplyFun is a company which makes fabulous educational games. Recently, we had the opportunity to review SimplyFun‘s geometry game, Shape Whiz, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. What a great way to add fun to math studies!
Math is such an important subject. Yet often, I find that we do our math studies and then immediately move on to other lessons. I find it challenging to think of ways to do review work that is fun, or just to make the subject itself enjoyable.
SimplyFun to the rescue! This company makes educational games in many different categories. Shape Whiz is a game based on geometric principles for ages 10 through adult. And whether the players are math geniuses or not, they’ll be able to enjoy the game. And, they’ll even learn geometric principles while they play!
So what is Shape Whiz, exactly?
Shape Whiz is a card game for two to four players. The object of the game is to get rid of all the cards in the players’ stacks, by using their knowledge of geometry. The game includes 3 sets of sturdy cards plus an instruction booklet that explains game play as well as principles of geometry and geometry definitions.
In Shape Whiz, there are yellow Whiz Cards, green Shape Cards, and blue Shape Cards. Each player is dealt 15 shape cards (you can either use the blue cards alone, which is easier, or shuffle the blue and green cards together for a more challenging game). The stack of yellow Whiz Cards is placed in the center. The players lay down three of their shape cards, turn over a Whiz Card, and game play begins! The Whiz Cards have a picture of a geometry clue in the center of the card along with the same clue printed in words. Here’s an example of some of the Whiz Card clues:
- One To Four Angles Less Than 90 Degrees
- Greater Than or Equal To Three Sets of Parallel Sides
- Two Different Lengths of Sides
- and many more
Each player will look at the three Shape Cards he has laid down to see if any of them matches the clue on the Whiz Card. The Shape Cards all have a geometric shape on one side (parallelograms, circles, squares, etc.) in a grid, plus a listing on the back side of the cards that describes the shape’s properties. The properties list includes:
- # of Total Sides
- Lines of Symmetry
- Total Perimeter
- # Angles Less Than 90 Degrees
- and more!
Less advanced geometry students will be able to use the properties information on the back of the Shape Cards to determine whether or not their cards fit the Whiz Cards that are face up. But more advanced students can simply look at the shape displayed on the Shape Cards to see if there’s a match, thinking about area, perimeter, and the properties of the shape itself.
How We Used Shape Whiz
I found Shape Whiz to be a fantastic addition to our math studies. We’ve progressed in our homeschool math studies to the point of pre-algebra on the schedule for the upcoming year. (We’ve just completed seventh grade.) So, we haven’t spent that full year on geometry that middle schoolers and high schoolers eventually get to. But we have, of course, had introductory geometry lessons along the way, and have covered shapes, perimeter, and area. (And a little on pi.)
However, we still found Shape Whiz not only accessible but extremely fun! It is a fast-paced card game, since the player who matches a Shape Card (with a geometry shape) to a Whiz Card (with the geometry clue) first wins the round. We do play a lot of card games as a family, and some of them are based on speed while others are based on skill or the luck of the draw. So, a game based on knowledge and speed was very easy to learn and enjoy.
We played it a number of times over several weeks, and both of us LOVED it! We intended to play with my husband for a game between three players rather than two, but we never did actually do that. (Which might have been good for Jackson and me, because of the three of us, my husband is the math genius!)
Here’s what my son Jackson had to say about Shape Whiz:
“I actually think that this is a fun game! It was something fun to do in the summer, and not hard to do. It wasn’t like school.”
This is high praise coming from the student who wants to do math first thing every day, so that he can get it over with. Each time we played it, there was no complaint, and we both enjoyed it so much.
As I work on lesson plans for the new year, one of the things I’m wanting to do is to add more math fun in. There are computer math games, of course; but I think that nothing beats actually sitting down together to play a game. And if you can learn while you’re doing it, even better! So I’m definitely planning on including Shape Whiz for additional math fun this year.
You may visit SimplyFun at their social media hangouts: