Does Fun With Figures Really Work or Is it a Scam? Here is a review of Kenneth Williams's Program:
Math skills are an essential part of a good education, and are central to the curriculums students of all ages must complete to advance. The only problem is—kids usually hate math. They find it boring an irrelevant, even though it is anything but. What if there was a clever way to improve a child’s math skills without actually doing any math equations? This is the question Kenneth Williams asked himself while pondering this issue, and he came up with a pretty clever answer.
Williams created a guide called Fun With Figures that uses a number of fun and entertaining games to instill math skills in young students.
Elements of the Game
Math is all about solving problems, so Williams concluded that games that posed problems that students could solve would correlate most profoundly with improved math skills. After exhaustive examination of his hypotheses, he discovered that this was in fact true. The games that required the use of reasoning and logic to solve problems were shown to be the most effective. These “problems” required clear thinking and an ability to think laterally and come up with creative solutions—all under the guise of being games the children thoroughly enjoyed. These games also honed the student’s ability to reason in their heads without the aid of paper and pencil.
Williams experimented with hundreds of games to determine which of them would require the children to develop the skills necessary to excel at math. Games involved recognizing patterns and following them to logical ends. The recognition of patterns is a skill central to problem solving, and pattern recognition is used to memorize multiplication tables, understand geometric arrays, and recognize number sequences. Williams determined that the 5 mental skills required to excel at math are:
- Recognizing patterns
- Solving problems
- Lateral thinking
- Logical thinking
These skills are naturally developed in math class as well as in the learning of other disciplines, but playing a few specially selected games can vastly improve all of the skills, and have students much better prepared for math classes they will take later in their lives.
A Sneak Peak
In his book, Williams shares five common games that he feels will help children develop the vital problem solving and reasoning skills they will need to excel academically. They are:
- Sudoku: A Japanese game that requires logic, reasoning and spatial awareness to complete a 9x9 grid of numbers.
- Rubik's Cube: The well known cube with colored squares helps children gain an understanding of rotational symmetry, and teaches them to visualize in three dimensions.
- Chess and Draughts: These games both help develop spatial thinking abilities, and allow children to visualize imaginary lines running in multiple directions. The game also requires creative lateral thinking, and imagining how future moves will be determined by current moves.
- Card Games: All card games involve recognizing patterns and analyzing the play of our opponent to strategize. They require the ability to visualize how several potential moves will impact the game, and the problem solving ability to choose the best one.
- Geometric Puzzles: These puzzles are great for developing spatial thinking skills and problem solving abilities. You must also have strong visualization skills to put the pieces together in your mind prior to moving them.
A Clear Advantage
Fun With Figures is full of games that children will enjoy playing while also developing all of the vital skills mentioned above. It offers an advantage that any parent would want for their children.