Using Prime Climb for Math

Prime Climb is my new favorite math game. This game has so much math potential from my youngest (5) to my oldest (11).  We are getting ready with my oldest to manipulate fractions with unlike denominators, and factoring is a must for that. This game is all about factors. My youngest is just now learning addition, so I took two Math Jr. dice (one that only goes to 3, the other to 6) and played using solely addition to get to finish.  We used our Cuisenaire rods and techniques found at Education Unboxed (one of my favorite sites) to figure out the addition. Then we used some “counting on” mental math for addition.

Cuisenaire Math Rods

The just of the game is to climb the spiral of numbers from 0 to 101 with two pawns using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  When a player rolls the dice, s/he decides to move one or two pawns by any of the operations using the number on one of the dice and the number the player is on, and then doing it again with the other die.  (The numbers on the dice cannot be added and then used to make the operation.) If you land on a prime number, denoted by a whole red circle, you draw a card.  The cards describe various actions to take, like switching places with another pawn, or give you extra moves to use at your choosing.  Bumping is also involved, where if you land on a number that a pawn is already occupying, that pawn is sent back to start.  Both my kids love the bumping.

Game Board


Prime numbers below 10

But the best part is ingenious!!!  They have devised a system where the numbers are color-coded with their factors! They have given a color for each number prime number below 10 and used these colors to show the factors of all the other numbers.  Prime numbers greater than 10 are denoted in red, even in the factoring codes. You can use these color codes to check your math on multiplication and division or even to do the math by colors.  It also comes with a handy little color-coded multiplication table.


We are really enjoying playing this. After we get our feet wet, I plan on playing backwards where division (older) and subtraction (younger) will really be emphasized.

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