Rush Hour Traffic Jam Game

Some amazing math found in the @ThinkFun game of Rush Hour! MathFour.com My sister-in-law showed me the Rush Hour Traffic Jam Game by Think Fun this weekend. She “assigned” one of the harder cards in the deck to me (sometimes it sucks to be known as the math mom) and assured me that I could do it.

The Set-up

You set up the 6×6 game board with the plastic vehicles just like the game card shows. Here’s where the math starts.

The skills children develop doing this support graphing on the Cartesian coordinate plane later on.

Even if your child isn’t ready for the actual game play, this step supports them in math!

The Goal

Allow the ice cream truck to “escape” the maze.

In order to do this, you are allowed to slide any of the cars forward or back. They can’t crash into other cars to push them out of the way. And you can’t lift any of them off the game board.

A more challenging goal is to also do this in the minimum amount of moves possible.

The Strategy

Everyone has their own plan. My nephew likes to scooch the cars around until he stumbles upon an answer. I decided to pick up the cars and move them to the most unique solution to see what the end result should look like.

The Math

You’ve the coordinate plane. You have logic. And you have strategy. But you have someone much more amazing here.

The beauty of the game is the way it simulates mathematical research and discovery.

  • Everyone has their own style.
  • Everyone has their own solution.
  • If you follow the rules and “win” then you’ve done it right, regardless of how someone else did it.
  • There are many levels of success – and the player determines which level he or she is shooting for.
  • Given the board and the colorful cars, you can create your own game.

Wanna play?

The next time you’re tutoring or teaching math, consider treating it like the Rush Hour game. Give it to your child then back off. Refrain from telling or showing. Let him or her play.

You’ll be amazed at what you see.

Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to tweet this out.

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Rush Hour Traffic Jam Game
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Playing Rush Hour supports kids when they later learn about the Cartesian Coordinate Plane. Kids are also discovering their own natural problem solving strategies. And they're strengthening their logic and reasoning skills!
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2 Responses to Rush Hour Traffic Jam Game

  1. Yelena says:

    I’ve been eyeing this game for a while now, contemplating playing it with my son. Now I want it for myself :) At the same time I’m very curious to see how my son approaches this game. So looks like we’ll be trying it out in the next few days.
    Yelena recently posted..Silly Robot Math

  2. My students love Rush Hour – there are online versions available – two links here (scroll down a bit):

    http://mathematicsgames.wordpress.com/puzzles/
    Colleen Young recently posted..Introducing Logs…

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