Fun Learning = Effective Learning
Ben Bosley, the Creator of MathTwister
Interviewed March 2012
Describe Math Twister?
MathTwister is a card game where players put together as many equations as they can, using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The player or team with the most cards is the winner. It’s important to encourage better math skills and MathTwister competition is a great way for kids to get recognition.
What drove you to create Math Twister?
Understanding math is a critical skill that students will use all of their lives. So, it’s important to encourage better math skills. MathTwister is a way to make the practice of math a rewarding experience and through competition it’s a great way for kids to get recognition. I was volunteering as a social worker and working with kids on math. The original concept for MathTwister came to me in a dream one evening and the very next day I developed the first prototype. And it worked.
How did you test Math Twister? On children or teachers? What was their initial response to the game?
MathTwister was tested and refined in classrooms by select group of fourth, fifth and sixth grade elementary school teachers who are dedicated to the enhancement of learning tools and techniques. The Teacher’s and student’s suggestions truly improved the quality of the game’s playing experience. These professionals filled out a survey evaluation of effectiveness and overall playing experience and I received a positive response rate of about 4.8 on a 5 scale. All of the math professionals said they would purchase MathTwister to play and encourage others to purchase and play MathTwister. And the kids were just as enthusiastic: “It’s exciting and you have to be fast,” “MathTwister is impeccably awesome” were just a few of the kid’s responses.
Who improves most by playing MathTwister?
MathTwister is adaptable to all levels of ability therefore, no particular group exclusively. MathTwister is being marketed to special education teachers and parents of kids with learning disabilities, teachers and parents of kids with average and above average abilities as well as teachers and parents with kids in gifted and talented programs.
What is your own math background?
I studied finance and earned a degree in business at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As a businessman, I’m constantly crunching numbers. I’ve always loved mathematics and math puzzles and have enjoyed working with math all my life.
It seems like Math Twister can help with more than just math skills. What are some other benefits to playing the game?
MathTwister encourages development of self-esteem and positive social skills. When students achieve a solution, they reinforce their newly acquired skills, achieve success in the game and build their self-esteem. The competitive element of MathTwister is what instantly and continuously engages the kids, and they are learning and developing their mind while also having fun. Good spellers have spelling bees, and this is like a spelling bee for math students.
MathTwister encourages a healthy amount of competition.
Some surprises as previously underperforming students were great at playing the game. MathTwister is also an excellent concentration-building tool for students.
What’s the highest level of math Math Twister can work with?
MathTwister is adaptable to all grades, inclusive of K-8 and even high school level students when fractions and other advanced math operations are incorporated into the game. MathTwister provides teachers with the flexibility to adjust the game to each student’s ability level. By choosing different numbers and mathematical operations with which the student(s) must work the teacher can make the game experience more or less challenging. In addition, MathTwister can be time limited or score limited allowing for individual use, small group and whole class learning experiences. And with over 150 cards in the box there can be up to 12 kids playing at once.
How does Math Twister help teachers meet State and Federal Standards?
Every one of the professional evaluators said that MathTwister met or exceeds their minimum board of education classroom standards and practices. Teachers can adapt the game to address grade appropriate skills per state standards and the kids get to practice those skills in a fun and engaging way.
How long has Math Twister been around?
MathTwister was released this year. It’s brand new for 2012.
Do you have any other products or plans for future products?
Absolutely. I am working on a follow up to MathTwister right now, although I’m not sure when it will be ready.
Who designed the box?
My whole goal was to improve math education by making the best premium educational tool possible. I purposely wanted to design as visually appealing of a card game as possible so students feel like they are always playing a game instead of doing schoolwork. I interviewed the best graphic designers in Arizona and chose a local graphic artist by the name of Don Regole of Regole Design in Tucson AZ. He was excellent to work with.
How will retailers benefit from carrying MathTwister in their stores?
Successful retailers provide value to their customers by offering them the best new educational games. I invite all inquiries about placement of MathTwister in toy and game stores. We provide retailers with one free demo game with their first order. One way retailers can drive traffic to their store, if they’re interested, is to host a Math Twister tournament. Visit mathtwister.com for more details.