Age level: Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: Originally designed as a travel game, this is a teaching game that I always keep in my teacher-bag now (along with a traditional deck of playing cards.) As pictured below, the Magic Mixer has one black dice in the center, then six dice surrounding it. To play the game as described in the instructions, the player rolls the Magic Mixer between his/her palms, then places it on a flat surface. Then the player adds up the numbers on the two black dice to find the “target sum.” Finally, the player uses the numbers on the other dice to create an equation (using addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division) to reach the target sum. The game can also be played with multiple players trying to reach the target sum simultaneously, and the first player to reach it calling out “stop!”
Skills & Modifications: While I have played the game as directed, I have also found that it is incredibly easy to make simple modifications to meet the skill level of your student. For each skill listed below, there are descriptions of how to modify the rules for different skill levels.
- Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division – The game is designed to practice all of these skills. Each turn may require the learner to use the skills in different combinations. For learners who have not mastered all of these skills, I may give an instruction such as “add the green number and the orange number” before they roll the Magic Mixer. This type of instruction can be used for all types of number sentences, though you may have to wait until after the learner has rolled the Magic Mixer to give an instruction for subtraction or division.
- Long Division – This is also a great tool for practicing long division. For this activity, I will instruction the learner to divide the center black dice by one of the other colored dice. For example, I might say, “Divide by the yellow dice.” The learner then rolls the Magic Mixer. If the center dice says “50” and the yellow dice says “4,” then the learner will complete long division for 50 divided by 4.
- Comparing Numbers – This looks similar to the long division modification described above, except for this activity I will tell the learner to compare two outer dice, such as “compare the blue dice and the pink dice.” After the learner rolls the Magic Mixer, then he/she will write a number sentence using < or >.
- Simplifying Fractions – I have also used this with one student to practice simplifying fractions. The center dice is the denominator and then I choose a color and verbally instruct the learner to use it as the numerator, or I use a worksheet such as the one shown below. The learner fills in the numerator and denominator based on what he/she rolled on the Magic Mixer.
Pros: This is a great item if you have students that throw dice or if you’re in a location where dice easily roll under furniture. It’s also very easy to modify the game to meet the specific needs of your learner. This is also a great tool for learners who are motivated by sensory activities because they may be reinforced by rolling the Magic Mixer between their palms on each turn.
Cons: The plastic casing for the dice has not held up well between traveling in the bottom of my teacher-bag and being handled my multiple students. I have had to do some repair work with super glue.
Cost: $9.99 You should invest in this game if: you are looking for motivating ways to practice math skills, you are a parent searching for fun ways to practice math skills over vacations or breaks from school, or you are a classroom teacher looking for a math center activity.
ABLLS: R9, R10