I Felt Like I Was Failing 5th Grade Math


Quiz time! What is 11 * 12? How about 4 * 7 * 9? Try 5 * 12 * 9 * 7. In your head. You have 30 seconds to solve each one. Don’t worry, the solutions are at the end of this page.

Sometimes we get so caught up playing modern board games that we neglect to utilize this family time for something more than entertainment. There are a slew of game titles out there that not only bring the family together, but can strengthen one’s word & spelling skills, mathematical abilities or even spatial ability. I recently found a Thrift Treasure that focused on fractions, but those types of games are normally targeted towards one age group only. We were recently introduced to a new game by Talkplaces Ltd. that solves this problem by making you solve problems!

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

PLYT won’t win any awards for high-quality components, strategic complexity or even outstanding graphics. But what it does do, it does well. In its basic form, PLYT is a dreaded roll-and-move game. But looking beyond that lies the need for true problem-solving in order to be successful. Put on your thinking hat now.

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

In order to move your pawn around the spiral track, you must correctly solve a multiplication problem in under 30 seconds without using a calculator or pen and paper. And here’s where the game levels the playing field for adults vs. kids. In a typical educational game, older players quickly become bored because the questions are entirely too easy. In PLYT you can vary the difficulty to match the ability of the player simply by requiring them to multiply more numbers than other less-educated opponents, but still in the same amount of time.

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

This is accomplished by rolling 12-sided dice (D12’s) with numbers 1 through 12. There are five red dice and one black die. A child who is just beginning to master his times tables might only roll two red dice (everyone always rolls the black die also on their turn). He/she would then be required to state the product of the two red dice before the sand timer runs out. If successful, they would be allowed to move their pawn forward the number of spaces equal to the result on the black die.

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

A pre-teen will find more difficulty using three red dice, an adult should be able to solve four dice roughly 75% of the time in the time allotted. And although I’ve always considered math to be one of my stronger skillsets, five dice proved very hard, especially when under the pressure of a stopwatch.

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

On the board are a number of spaces with the PLYT logo. When landed on, a player draws a “Chance” card and performs the instructions immediately. These cards might be beneficial to you, but could also benefit one or more of your opponents. The addition of these random cards keeps the game from being a runaway win for the person who is more proficient.

Educational games don't have to be one-sided. PLYT by Talkplaces, Ltd. uses dice to even the playing field! - SahmReviews.com

Players take turns until one player reaches the middle of the board in an area marked “Winner”. Designed for ages 4+ and up to six players, I would expect a game to last around 30 minutes.

PLYT was definitely a surprise to us, as we had considered it would be too easy for our kids (and us). The ability to play at different difficulties at the same time will keep adults interested and less likely to pass when the kids ask to play an educational game. Plus they won’t be as intimidated knowing the adult will have as hard of a time at it as they will. And until ours can master the 5-dice variation, we’ll keep pushing them to practice!

You can find PLYT on Amazon for around $30 shipped or direct from the publisher on their website. You can also learn more about the game by following them on Twitter and Facebook. Let’s see if they can come up with a division version!

Were you able to solve the problems without cheating? (121, 252, 3780)

30 thoughts on “I Felt Like I Was Failing 5th Grade Math

  1. Many thanks for your honest review. We love the fact that you were all challenged in the game but don’t worry about stopping at 5 dice, if you use the black dice(the master) as one of the multipliers you can go up to 6 dice multiplication – now that is tricky and you’ll need to use all our tips to get the answer in 30 seconds!
    Did you challenge yourselves to throw an extra dice and get a bonus on your turn? This is where your risk and reward strategy comes in – get a harder one right and move further forward, but get it wrong and you stay where you are . Once you start to push outside of your comfort zone and everyone really challenges themselves (yes that means parents too) and it gets competitive, that’s when you start to see the biggest improvements in math. We definitely recommend encouraging people to try for the bonus – the sense of achievement is great when you get a hard one right and that’s when confidence with numbers really grows.
    We have lots of game options on our website http://www.plyt.co.uk and PLYT can be used from simple number recognition and adding, for those just starting out with numbers, up to 6 dice multiplication oh and yes there are options for fractions, so if you feel like dividing there’s an option for that too.
    If there are any questions about PLYT we’d be more than happy to answer them – our aim is to help families get the most out of the game!
    Happy Plyting!  🙂

  2. A game that makes learning fun is always good. I am also a fan of math. I agree that I am quite out of habit of performing calculations in my head beyond two numbers or a relatively easy three.

    1. We found we were quite rusty when we first made the game for our children but it’s amazing how quickly it comes back to you – especially if you’re a math fan 🙂

    1. Yes it’s great for both children and parents. Plus the more the parents challenge themselves and the more competitive they make it, the more the children improve – no pain no gain! 🙂

    1. When we made the game we never realised how much our kids love beating us in a game – especially where there was math involved. Now they gang up on their Dad and never let him win! 🙂

    1. It’s amazing how quickly you improve from playing Michele – and it’s great for the children to see you challenging yourself – they will copy you and before you know it you’ll all be great at multiplying!:-)

    1. Haha – you’re right – we’ve found that men love the competition and often think that they can do 6 dice straight away! The good thing is that it’s about being your best and not THE best at math so you could beat him! Happy Plyting! 🙂

  3. Sounds like a game my son and I would like. We have always been our gamers but we’re really upping the game here lately. 🙂

    1. That’s great Rosey – there’s nothing like a bit of face to face time playing a board game is there? If you and your son like competition you’ll love PLYT & he can genuinely beat you at a math game! There are lots of tips and options on the website to help you get the most out of it for your family too. 🙂

    1. It’s amazing how many mums say that they are not so confident in math until they start playing Denise. It’s better to start off easily and you’ll be amazed how quickly your confidence grows & you’ll soon realise that you are actually much better than you thought! Oh and an added benefit is that the kids improve more where their parents challenge themselves! 🙂

  4. Okay, it took me a sold 20 seconds to figure out the 5 x 9 x 8. I’m not proud. This would be an excellent game for all of us to keep our minds sharp! Excellent review and post. Def putting this on the holiday shopping list.

    1. That’s a result Shelley as you have 30 seconds in the game! 🙂
      We also have lots of tips on the website http://www.plyt.co.uk to show you which numbers to combine together to make the calculations much easier. Once you start playing, you get much quicker too & everyone’s confidence with number grows! Thanks for your kind comments and Happy Plyting!

    1. Just to reassure you – you don’t have to use multiplication in the game. Young children can join in and simply use the black dice for number recognition and then just count their way around the board. Some players may want to add the dice together instead of multiplying or alternatively fix one red dice on a specific number and just concentrate on that times table. Each player can be at a different level so it’s great for the whole family no matter what your age or ability. If I can be of any further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂

  5. Math isn’t my favorite thing but it still looks like a fun way to do math with the kids. I could see myself purchasing this game as a way to encourage learning.

    1. Hi Sarah – it’s often hard as parents to know what to do with our children at home to help them with math isn’t it? If yours are anything like mine they will get fed up of learning tables and “doing sums” at home. We’ve always loved games so that’s why we thought a math game was the way to go. With a two year age gap it was hard to find something that we could all play together that would challenge everyone and everyone would have the same chance of winning so that’s why we created PLYT. Now we all play together (I hardly ever win!) and everyone math has improved 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more Laura – learning through play is so much more fun and often the children don’t even realise they are learning – they just get so caught up in the competitive game. We often say it’s math by stealth! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I agree that kids definitely need these life skills nowadays & anything that you can do to give your children confidence with numbers has got to be good. We found that playing PLYT with our kids was a good way to keep them engaged with math and help them with numbers. Ironically they learnt so much more when they got one wrong – it gave us chance to explain how to do it correctly and they seemed to then remember that for future turns/games – plus our own math improved in the process which was an added bonus! 🙂

  6. I am definitely stronger in English and Reading, as is my oldest, but my husband, middle child and youngest all excel and enjoy math. This game looks like something our entire family could benefit from!

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