Fractiles. They advertise that they are good for ages 6 to 106, and with some supervision, kids under the age of 6 can use them too. Red, yellow, and blue parallelograms, magnetic, and they can be used in so many cool ways.
Now, I have to back up and tell you a horrible story. I've had these forever. The kids designed with them for a few weeks. I seriously intended to get a review written last spring, but when I went to sit down with my kids to work through the games and lesson plans (a pdf is available on the website), the kids could not find the set anywhere. Life was crazy, I kept getting after them to find it...
And then it turned up. I did work through the lesson plans with them, and had a blast doing so. I could not believe I was having intelligent conversations with my 6 and 8 year olds involving words like:
- adjacent, reflection symmetry (game #1)
- translation, rotational, and reflection symmetry (game #2)
- rhombus, 360 degrees in a circle, 1/7 fractions (1/7, 2/7, 3/7, etc), 1/14 fractions, repeating decimals (game #4) (okay, I did pretty much lose the 6 year old in this one!)
- adjacent corners (game #5)
We did a massive cleaning project a couple of days later, and when I remembered to get the camera charged and went to get photos for this blog post... the fractile set was gone. We searched. And searched. And searched some more. I thought about buying a new set. But things kept coming up. And we searched some more.
Two weeks ago, I was working with some books we had stored away into bins for school. And, yeah. There in a bin full of American history books was the Fractile set. I don't even know why I opened that bin, but I am glad I did.
Anyway, the Fractiles are back, and everyone (ages 6 to, well, I'm not close to 106 yet) has been playing with them again.
These things are just. so. cool.
Each color is a different angle. The red ones have angles that are 1/14 and 6/14 of a circle. The yellow ones have angles that are 2/14 and 5/14. The blue ones are close to square, with angles of 3/14 and 4/14. These angles mean that the diamonds fit together in so very many different ways.
These are great for exploring all kinds of geometric mathematical concepts. These are great for all kinds of visual processing types of things. They are a lot of fun just for art and creativity.
Here is something Trina put together while I was typing:
It is fun to give the older guys a challenge... take 7 of each piece and make a circle. Here is one Thomas came up with after first doing the one in the logo above:
And then William tried to make one. Amusingly enough, he ended up creating exactly the same circle. They both employed the same strategy... they created the outer circle with the red pieces, then filled in the middle.
William had to play with all the other pieces on the board, though, to make a nice pattern to go with his 21 piece circle.
I think my favorite thing about the Fractiles is that once I read through some of the material, I was able to just naturally bring up the geometric aspects, and because the kids were trying to make a picture or design work "just so," my talking didn't seem like yet another math lecture. They are just absorbing the concepts, and building up those visual-spatial skills. The ones I need to work on.
This would make a fabulous Christmas gift. And one of you, my lucky readers, can win a set. Because I did such a horrible job of getting this review posted, and because this is just such a way cool product, I am going to give away a Fridge-Size Fractile set. This does not come with a magnetic board -- you can use the fridge, or a cookie sheet, or another magnetic surface.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
These are available at some great places. I plan to look for more at the Science Museum in St. Paul in a couple of weeks, but there is also a gas station in Vermillion, SD that we go by on most of our trips to and from my parents...
Or you can get them online.
Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.