The Magic School Bus Math Explosion is a math and science game for two to four players where players must correctly answer math questions in order to explode the volcano. The game includes a volcano, a bowl, a two-sided board, four colored measuring cups, a clear measuring cup, a measuring spoon, 20 bonus cards, and 10 printable sheets for playing cards. You will also need baking soda and vinegar.
Before you play the game for the first time, you'll need to go online and print playing cards onto the included printable sheets. This allows you to customize the game so that kids with differing levels of math skills can play together. Each player should then receive playing cards tailored to his or her skill level, but the instructions don't say how many playing cards each player gets. Each printed page has 30 math questions on it, so each player could just get one page of cards.
To play, decide what side of the game board to play with: the speedy game side or the extended game side. Then, set up the game board by placing the volcano in the bowl and the bowl in the middle of the game board. Add 10 ml of vinegar to a measuring cup and place the cup in the top of the volcano. Put some baking soda and the measuring spoon in a separate bowl (not included). Each player takes their colored measuring cup and places it at start.
On the first player's turn, either an adult or the player to his right will read aloud a math fact from the first player's card stack. If the player answers correctly, he moves ahead one space on the board. As you move along the board, you might land on a bonus card space, which means you draw a bonus card and do what it says. If you land on a measuring cup space, you must add one spoonful of baking soda to your measuring cup. If you land on a space that says "Move Ahead One Space," then you move ahead one space. Players continue taking turns answering math questions and moving around the board until one player reaches the volcano and adds the baking soda from his or her measuring cup to make the volcano explode.
The anticipation of the volcano exploding adds excitement to this game and may entice even kids who don't like math to play. We like that you can either play a fast game or a longer game, and that it's possible to tailor the math questions based on who is playing, allowing each child to practice the math skills he or she needs to practice. However, we wish the instructions were a bit clearer.
The Magic School Bus Math Explosion is for ages 5 and up.
For some reason, we couldn't use Google Chrome to print the playing cards. We had to switch to Safari, and then it worked.
Even after you've used all the included printable playing card sheets, you can still create more playing cards online and just print them out on standard printer paper.
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