A review of Equilibrio by Fox Mind Games

Yesterday Tracy Johnston Zager asked about the game Equilibrio on twitter:

It looked like a fun game, so I ordered it for delivery today (I’m traveling for work tomorrow and Thursday). Probably not exactly what Tracy was looking for, but here’s our reivew:

First up . . . the unboxing:


At the end of the unboxing we came to the first puzzle. Here’s the attempt from the boys to build their first Equilibrio shape:


Next up, a slightly more difficult puzzle (one level up in the game):


Having completed the 2nd level, we moved on to the third level (sorry for the glare on the book in this video, I didn’t notice that until filming the next one). You can see from the attempt to construct this shape that this game is extremely challenging as well as engaging for kids. Also, there’s some interesting ideas about the math in this game from the kids at the end of this video:


The 4th level – Blue – was really tough. Here I let the boys build for about 5 minutes. They had several failed attempts, so I let them finish with the camera off. The failed attempts are really interesting, though, and you can watch them learn how to build the shape right in front of you! If you are thinking of using this game in a classroom, this is probably the video to watch. It was really interesting for me to watch (and hear) them advance in this task:


So, here’s the completed 4th level shape and then our final thoughts about the game:


So, I’m super excited about this game. One of the things that I’m most happy about is how the kids stayed engaged all the way to the end when they were building each shape – even the really challenging ones. In fact, as I was writing up the blog my younger son was still playing around with the game!!

Game Pic

It was also great to see them solve the problem of building the shapes – sometimes trying supports, learning from the failures, persevering – so exactly the same ideas that help solving math problems.

All in all – I think this is a super game for kids. So glad that I saw Tracy’s post about it yesterday 🙂

What learning math sometimes looks like and an example of where I really struggle

I like to use old AMC problem as a way of challenging the kids. These old contest problems cover all sorts of topics and most of the problems are pretty clever, too, so the challenges are also fun.

When we cover these problems I ask the kids to pick a year at random and work through some problems from that year’s test. Right now my younger son works through some of the first 10 problems on the AMC 8 and my older son works through some of the problems from 10 to 20 on the AMC 10. After they are done working we review problems that gave them a hard time.

Because there aren’t too many old AMC exams (and also because the kids probably aren’t great random number generators!) they end up working through the same problems fairly often. Today my older son was working on a question that gives him problem every time. More on that one later. First, though, a geometry question that my younger son initially struggled with:


Now the problem my older son struggled with – it is a more difficult problem, but the struggle seems to come from the arithmetic rather than from the more difficult ideas required to solve the problem. I feel that my biggest struggle working with they boys has been helping them learn to work carefully. The two videos below illustrate the point well when the arithmetic mistakes cause a great deal of difficulty for him and also prove to be extremely challenging for him to find.