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Media Review:  "Simon"

"Simon," from Milton Bradley, is a game which, upon first glance, would not seem like a game that emphasizes math concepts. However, this is a great game to get kids thinking about math while they play. "Simon" is an electronic game that challenges the player to repeat increasing sequences of colors and sounds. There are three different games and four levels for each game. Students can play this game alone or with up to four people. "Simon," created in 1978, can be found in basement closets (or possibly in a garage sale), and would benefit students in grades one through eight. It is no longer available in stores.

"Simon" highlights many different math concepts. First, students are working with sequencing. "Simon" creates a sequence that the player must repeat, and this sequence gets increasingly longer until the player makes an error. Furthermore, students are working with patterns. Students must decide whether the sequence that "Simon" presents is a pattern or a random sequence. There is also a game where players can create their own sequences and challenge someone else to repeat them. Because the sequences are presented along with a sound or pitch, students can begin to see that music is mathematical. Players can hear the sequence make a melody, and they can start to understand that music is full of patterns and sequences.

Students of all races and genders should be able to play "Simon" with ease. It does not present any cultural biases, and it is gender equitable. Even students who are colorblind should be able to play this game because the colors have a light under the button that lights up when that button is selected. "Simon" is, however, a bit of an older game, and some students may not like it because does not reflect the newest technology. However, many students will enjoy "Simon" anyway.

"Simon" would be a great way for students to explore patterns and sequences. While playing, students could keep track of the sequences and compare them, looking for similarities. They could also look for patterns within the sequences. In lower elementary classrooms, these patterns would be very simple, but upper elementary and middle school students could analyze the sequences in depth, looking for repeating patterns, colors, sounds, and more. Furthermore, students could create and analyze their own sequences. "Simon" would also be a good game for free time. Students could play in groups or alone. However, "Simon" does make noise, so students would probably not be able to use it while others are working silently.

"Simon" would be a great addition to any classroom. Students can get great practice with sequencing and patterns, and they can enjoy themselves at the same time. "Simon" is a versatile game that can be used in grades one through eight, and it is culturally and gender equitable. So, check out those basement toy closets. "Simon" might just be sitting on the shelf, waiting to teach valuable math concepts to kids of all ages!



Milton Bradley. (1978). Simon [game]. Hasbro, Inc.


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