Triominos for Family Fun

The kids love playing Triominos.

This game is a spin on the traditional game of dominoes which involves math and strategy. Players try to be the first to play all of their tiles by matching two or three numbers on the tile to existing numbers on the board. Each time a tile is played the player receives points equal to the numbers on the tile. Bonus points are awarded for a few special circumstances such as when all three numbers are matched to place a tile. Play continues in this fashion until 400 points are scored and a winner is determined.

After completing several games, players begin to develop strategy and notice that the numbers always increase in a clockwise fashion. With this knowledge, players understand which plays can allow or prevent players the ability to complete a hexagon. The more the game is played, the more strategy becomes understood. 

We enjoy this game as its fun and builds thinking skills.

The Story of Electronic Speed!

My husband is the brains behind the electronic version of Speed! He is a computer programmer and really likes to write code.

Speed! is a skip-counting card game that helps kids learn multiplication.

Physical Cards
iPad app Lite version - free, Two Speed only
iPad app Full version 
iPhone app.

When the physical version of Speed! went up for sale at in September 2011, he began working on an electronic version. Although he is a computer engineer, he wasn't familiar with X-Code. So he not only needed to create the program, but also needed to understand and learn X-Code, which is the language Apple Apps are written in.

Pretty much all of his weekends and free time between September 2011 and January 2013 were spent on this project. He was on track to have it in the iStore at the end of the summer, before Jemma was diagnosed with Leukemia. After the diagnosis instead of working on Speed! he spent much more time cleaning, caring for our kids and handling all of the insurance paperwork.

In between his new added responsibilities he still found some time to play with the kids and finish the code for Speed! I think he did an awesome job! I knew he could do it, but had no idea it would look so good and play so smooth.

Here is a picture of him the day Speed! was available in the iStore for the first time...... You are Smrt dear! I love you!

 To find Speed! in the App Store switch the category to education and then search on

  • Speed, math
  • Speed, highhill
  • Speed, multiplication
or click the links below.

Physical version
Lite version - free,Two Speed only 
Full version 
iPhone app

Government and Media

We are witnessing a major change in how government officials communicate with the public. First there were speeches given at railway stations, then there was radio, television, debates, and the internet. Now we are moving into social media.

Since the November 2016 Trump/Clinton election, Government and Media is a topic I keep thinking about. Regardless of which side you were on I believe we were all brainwashed by the media to believe that if the desired candidate lost, America would disintegrate. After all, the largest coverage given to Trump was talk about his harassment of women, and the greatest media coverage of Hillary was her unauthorized server.

The media is in a unique position to decide what is news and influence public opinion. Unfortunately, their selections of stories are usually based on increasing ratings. The book  Collins College Outlines: Introduction to American Government even had a term, new to me, for this type of reporting "Yellow Journalism". In general, Yellow Journalism gives the greatest attention to scandals, violence and disasters.

Yes, this type of sensationalism is entertaining, but it makes me personally feel like a stupid uninformed citizen. I haven't watched televised news very much for years. Each time I go back to news watching, it only last for a few days. I get frustrated by the limited background information offered, the vast amount of commercial interruptions and the stories of animals being rescued from trees. What is news these days?

I'm sure I'm not alone in these thoughts. Media is a powerful tool that changes the way people think. Although some people take extra time to do background research, the majority remain confused and uninformed despite watching the evening news regularly.

Seeing large amounts of people crying after the election was a sorry sight. As voters, most individuals felt the need to pick a side and were then swayed to believe disaster was ahead if their side lost. Depending on background, jobs, education and beliefs, life will be affected by leaders, but the effect should not be overwhelmingly terrible.

Media has influence, but we must not let media control our thinking. We must do independent research to be informed citizens. As Americans we should be proud to have a system that consists of three branches of government which were designed as an insurance policy so that no individual or group of individuals could grab a hold of our government and make radical change. No matter who is in charge, the system was designed so that the only work that "gets done" is agreed upon by a vast majority of citizens. The president is powerful, but even the president cannot easily do everything promised during campaigns.

Although our civil liberties have been slowly disappearing over time, we continue to enjoy more freedoms than most people on the planet. Because there are checks and balances, and because there are both democrats and republicans and libertarians and others, not much "gets done" in congress. For the most part, that is a good thing. When things "get done" that generally means new laws are passed that all citizens must obey. The only new regulations that should be made are those which are agreed upon by a huge majority. When one party controls everything, trouble starts. The balance is tipped and one party can do too much. In other words, we end up with wars, entitlements and policies desired by only a few that affect us all.

Donald Trump has used the media in a way different from any past president or candidate. Shortly after the election, I read an article entitled "If Donald Trump Tweets, is it News?" This concept was fascinating to me. By tweeting, Trump can bypass the media and communicate directly with the people. The media must be terrified of loosing influence. The world and government has gone through similar transitions several times in the past. First there was no major communication network, then newspapers, then radio, then television, then the internet and now social media. FDR took advantage of radio with his Fireside Chats. Kennedy took advantage of television participating in a debate with Nixon. We are going to witness a new first as Trump takes advantage of social media.

How exciting to be witnessing history!!!

For more great educational activities check out these blog hops

Knitting - Interested Based Education

We constantly shift our daily routines between various degrees of interest based education and loosely structured basic requirements. During our last adventure moving toward interest based education I constantly worked to ensure my children were growing in their knowledge of their areas of interest.

A few years ago my youngest learned to knit around the age of five years old with a peg loom. She went on to both crochet and knit herself hats. After she made a second knit hat identical to her first I was hoping she would be interested in another knitting project which was slightly more difficult.

I was in luck. All I had to do was suggest she search the internet for fancy hats. She giggled as she looked, but then chose a very appropriate hat to increase her knowledge and continue her knitting.

After finding the hat she wanted to make she chose her yarn.

While she was selecting yarn, I worked to write down a pattern for her to follow. We talked about the Fibonacci numbers as they are useful in designing stripes. In addition, we counted the number of rows in her hat and how many rows of each color were to be knitted, which involved lots of addition and subtraction.

This project was perfect because she worked on it several days in a row while sick with a fever, was able to read the directions on her own, and able to see how math is involved in pattern creation. It is always interesting to see where kids go when they are given the freedom to explore.

For more great educational activities check out these blog hops.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...