Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Fractiles

When I was given the chance to review an educational toy, of course I said yes.  But really, how exciting could some magnet set really be?  I thought it would be fun, but I didn't expect to absolutely love the product!

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)
It was so much fun, and my kids were grasping so much of the mathematical terminology.  But the battery in the camera was dead, and I had no idea where the charger was.

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:

She has a whole long story about this image.  Spaceships (the blue & yellow things, with flames coming out) and stars and explosions...  Can you tell she has brothers?


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.   

50 comments:

Scarlett said...

How fun! I've never heard of these, but we would definitely use these in our homeschool.

Jennifer Rogers said...

My 8 year old grandson Layne is going to use this!
j1man1r66@etex.net

Megan said...

I imagine all four of my girls would have a go with these, but mostly Millie. :)

Leianna said...

These look really fun. I can imagine all the kids, especially Elijah, working out all sorts of designs with it

Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

This looks like something that all three of my kids would enjoy.

Kimberly said...

I think I'd have to set up some kind of formal schedule for these - my 3 school-age kids will love them!

(I'm sure the almost-2-year-old will want in on the action, too, but I don't think the baby will be as enamored with them...) :)

Under the Sky said...

I have always liked things like this. What a neat product for you to review! I think my most arty one (Emma) would love these. :)

Warmly,
Kate

MommyKuehner said...

Our whole family will play with this!

Karen M in FL said...

These look like it would be a whole lot of fun.

debijackson said...

Oliver would love these
debbie jackson
djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

Erika said...

All my kids would like these.

Lisa said...

They look like so much fun!!

Alina said...

These look awesome! The children will have to fight me for them :)

Lisa @ Our Country Road said...

I think these would be great for all my children! Mostly my 7 year old, though.

Cristi said...

I think I'd put them on the refrigerator for all of us to play with.

Leah C said...

Oh, all of my kids would love these. I can think of so many uses for homeschooling!

Writer said...

They look like so much fun! My kids would use them for homeschool.

Proverbial Homemaker said...

We would ALL love this!

Kelly Ballard said...

My youngest would love these. She is interested in making patterns and puzzles.

Christine said...

I love the 'order' that God has placed within his creation, and fractiles express it beautifully!

Crystal said...

All my kids would like this

Brittney said...

My 6 year old son would absolutely love these, and I think even my 3 year old would like playing with them as well!

Susan Hall said...

I love that you post about your older children. Most post have tots only. I have a wide range of children (21 to 3) and I rarely see older children. It has been refreshing to read your post. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

I think we will all use it! My9 and 6 year old sons specifically will enjoy it and learn a lot I think!
Jennifer- dallasandjen at yahoo dot com

Shelley Q said...

My 5 year old is a visual learner. I think she would enjoy these.

Angel F said...

My 5-year-old daughter and 3 year-old twin boys would love this!

Beth Morris said...

All of my kids would play with these, me too! I think my 9 year old son would have the most fun though :)

Kym Thorpe said...

I have a feeling that all of us will play with these at some point, but I'd want them primarily for my 11yo daughter.

Becky Milstead said...

I have been looking to buy some of these for our homeschool. My sons are 8 & 5 that would be using them. :-)

Candice said...

This is really awesome! I know my son would love it!

Lorus! said...

I think all of us would use this! But specifically my 14 yo daughter, 8&6 yo sons would learn so much from these.

Julie said...

My 5 year olds and me of course.

HillaryM said...

Who is going to use this? Who isn't? I'd love to play with the set. ;) If we leave it on the fridge, I figure everyone will.

Karyn Tripp said...

My kids & I would really enjoy playing around with these!!

Kristi said...

All of my kids would use this, but I think especially my 9 yo boy!!

Stefanie said...

Both my girls would use this. Looks so neat.

A Learning Journey said...

This looks like a lot of fun! My whole family would use these I am sure, but Alyssa would like them most of all. Thank you for posting!
God bless,
Tracey

Lynn @ TDHGP said...

J and E would use this one!

Dawn said...

Me (just kidding...well, sort of) and my sons!

Susan said...

I think all my kids would enjoy these.

tikvah73 said...

All my kids would like this, but they would be off limits for the twins...

Sarah Avila said...

My 8 year old son would love this.

Apryl Herrell said...

I have kids from preschool age up to high school that would ALL love this!

Jen said...

We will all be using it. I've never heard of this before.

Alyson Brown said...

We would all be using these.

Thanks so much for offering this!!

rcwriter said...

My daughter would love this. She loves anything that she can use her imagination with.

Debbie said...

My daughter would love this...and probably me too!

Audra Silva said...

My younger kids would love this. :)

Trishe B. said...

These look great! i'm sure all my children would love playing with these.

Sacha @ Home in the Trenches said...

These look really cool. I think my almost 6 year old, 9, 11 and 13 yo would all love to use these!