My kids love everything Titanic: books, puzzles, youtube videos… So I came up with a Titanic Math Game, a cooperative board game that uses their fascination with boats and sinking to teach some math skills, a sense of time, even a bit of spelling and writing if they choose to write things down. The extra bonus is that they don’t play against each other. In this game, there are no losers (and no tears), so everyone wins.
Titanic Math Game
1 to 100
- Dice (2)
- A piece of paper
- A pencil
- Coins (LOTS of pennies, some nickels, a few dimes, and a couple of quarters)
- Paper or index cards, if you choose to keep score
How to play
I like to use a clock to keep things more exciting and to have a definite end to the game. It makes them move through their turns faster. It provides for a lot of giggles as they race the clock. It also teaches a concept of time. Sometimes I say we have 15 minutes before Titanic sinks, let’s see how much treasure we can save from the sinking ship. Other times we have 20 minutes or 30. I use a real clock, not a digital clock, so they can see the hands moving, which increases the appreciation of the passage of time.
The first time my kids played the game, they needed to put their little finger on each dot on dice and count them out loud. The second time they were capable of saying the number after a brief glance at the dice. It’s amazing how quickly they learn. Also, in the beginning, I had to prompt them, “Look at the boat number #3, do you think it might already have five pennies, count them,” but pretty quickly they could identify five pennies at a glance, or they could look at a boat that has nickel and five pennies and say, “Hey, this needs a dime.”
What are they really learning?
Math is a subject that should be more enjoyable than it usually is. Nurturing a child’s love of counting and mathematics from an early age sets them up for a lifelong love affair with math. In particular, this game teaches counting adding up to twelve (while playing the game) and counting to hundred or more (when you count all the money in lifeboats at the end of the game). It introduces the concept of money: identifying real money, learning the value of a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and how they are interrelated. It teaches how money is exchanged for goods. After a few rounds of the game, they will have enough money in their piggy banks to visit a dollar store or a dollar section of Target to pick their present, figure out what they can afford and pay for it with their own money.
Note: Make a guess: how long it is going to take them to figure out that lifeboat #1 never gets (and never will get) a coin (since we use two dice the smallest number possible is 2).