Practicing Math Facts With a Brand New Game (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Using games to learn or practice skills can often be much more fun than other ways of learning. Memorizing math facts can sometimes be tedious, but when you can play a game with them, it’s much more fun. The Review Crew recently had the opportunity to review a brand new game from a brand new publisher- Sunya Publishing. (This link gives some description but doesn’t have a way to purchase the game as yet.)

We received Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing. There is also an addition/subtraction version of the game. I wanted to use the game primarily to practice multiplication and division facts with Ashlyne and Rachel- 12 and 10.

Math practice game

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What comes in the package?

Our Sunya game arrived, and I eagerly opened the package. We received a deck of number cards, multiplication, division, and equal symbols, a multiplication/division number line, and a deck of puzzle and riddle cards. We also received a game play instruction book.

Sunya math practice

What is Sunya?

The game play guidebook has an explanation for the unusual name of this game. The word “sunya” is a Sanskrit word from the ancient language of the Hindu people in India. The word means “empty” or “void of quantity.” In the game saying the word “sunya” means that the player is out of cards.
The guidebook gives more information about the development of our number system and the history of what we now know as mathematics.

How is the game played?

The game is a card game which has as its object to be the first player out of cards. When we first received the game, I opened the guidebook to learn how to play. The guidebook was quite overwhelming.

Multiplication practice game

The guidebook gave nine steps for the basic game play and then suggested other ways to play and variations that allow for team play or for longer game play.
Even after quite a bit of reading, I’m sure I didn’t understand all of the intricacies explained in the book. We decided to just jump in with the basic rules we could understand.
Using the number and symbol cards, the first player made a number sentence to start us off. All players were dealt four cards, and there was a draw pile of cards remaining. We chose to play with multiplication first because it seemed easier.

Learn math with games

The idea- as we understood it- was to use our cards to cover up various numbers in the existing number sentence to continue making true number sentences. If a player didn’t have any cards that made a true number sentence, she had to draw from the draw pile until she had them. The first player to be out of cards won the round and said the word “sunya.”
There was a multiplication/division number line included. Basically this was a number line with -3 through 40 on the top, and a line with 41 through 84 on the bottom. The instructions for using it involved finding the starting number and then skip counting to find the answer. Instructions in the guidebook recommended that this number line could be used when students were first learning their times tables. My girls hadn’t used this method before. We usually use a multiplication grid to refer to when we’re still learning the times tables.

Sunya math practice

After winning, the instructions said for the winning player to read a math and science puzzle/riddle card from that deck. (The questions on these cards are also included at the back of the guidebook.) There didn’t seem to be a purpose for doing this- as far as the rest of the game play. Some of the questions were math related, but they didn’t relate to practicing multiplication and division. Some of the questions were silly riddles and some were legitimate puzzles to work out. We added the rule that if anyone could guess the silly answer or work out the riddle, that person was the 2nd place winner. This allowed us to tie in the use of this deck of cards with the rest of the game.

What did we think?

The basic idea is a good one. Laying down cards to make true number sentences is a good way to practice multiplication and division. And having the goal to be the first to go out of cards added a little competition to math practice, making it more fun.
The problem was that the instructions were very confusing. I’m still not sure we used all of the rules listed in the book. I really like games where the startup instructions are fairly simple, and we can jump in and start playing quickly. If I had just given the guidebook to the girls and let them play, they would have given up and not even attempted it. One look at the book, and they were looking to me for help.
Some of the puzzles on the math and science cards were interesting to figure out- even though they didn’t seem to have much to do with the game. I would have loved to see only legitimate puzzles that needed math to be solved. I think this would have tied the cards in with the game better. 
The idea behind this game is good. It’s a good way to practice math facts in a fun way. I just wished it were a little easier to understand. You can read what other Crew members thought of this and the addition/subtraction version of the game by clicking below.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

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