Homeschool game: Prime Climb

For Christmas we got a game called Prime Climb (link to Prime Climb page).

It’s a fairly simple math game that helps solidify addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in a fun way. The game is a race to 101. You have two pawns on a board with places from 0 to 101, and you want to get both your pawns to 101 before the other players. Each turn you roll two 10-sided dice. You then can move your pawns by adding on the dice value, or multiplying, subtracting, or dividing. (Say, you’re on a 22 and you roll a 4 and a 5, then you can multiply 22 by 4 to get 88 and then add 5 to get 93. You cannot exceed 101 at any point.) If your pawn comes to rest on a position that already has another pawn, you send that pawn back to 0. If your pawn comes to rest on a prime number larger than 10 (which are conveniently colored red all the way around), you get to pick a card from a stack that gives you extra powers, like being able to force an opponent on a subsequent move to only subtract or divide.

The game is quick to learn, and my 6-year-old Emma was inspired enough to keep going despite her limited multiplication skills. We pulled out a set of Base 10 Blocks and did multiplication that way.

In addition to it being a fun way to practice multiplication and division, it has a decent amount of strategy and helps you focus on ways to get to 101 within the restrictions of the game. Furthermore, it elegantly depicts how a number is composed of its prime factors. This game is a winner. It’s certainly at least as good as my childhood favorite, The 24 Game, because not only does it involve strategy to get to a certain number, but also you don’t have to worry about people of different skill levels racing to the end like in the 24 Game (which is still a great game!)

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Refined floor plan (floor plan version 3)

So, it was time to update the floor plan again.Floor Plan 3

There are some changes in this floor plan. First, I was talking with my brother-in-law, who is an architect and regularly works with Island County. As you may recall, the house must be no more than 1000 gross square feet. Gross square feet is defined as area inside the the outside walls (including the outside walls!) minus utility rooms and a few other deductions. I included a utility in my plan to bring the square feet down from 1009 to under 1000, but it seems that if you have laundry in a utility room, then they don’t count it as a utility room. So, I indented the front entrance of the house to make an outside mudroom. That section is 4 feet wide and 4.5 feet deep, so that cuts out 18 gross square feet, bringing me down to 991 gross square feet. I also added a covered porch to the plan so that there’s lots of “dirty space” before entering the house. Western Washington is wet (at least during the wet season), so it’s useful to have a plan to deal with wetness before entering the house.

Next, I did some refining of bathroom 1 to make it more compact. There was some dead space around the sink before that was just for standing in while washing hands. So, I pivoted the sink and moved it to another wall and then placed it inside an indent. Now there is no dead space. Because I’ll be using pocket doors, I don’t have to worry about door swing areas.

Also, the plan reflects the larger windows that I actually acquired. And I added a second window to the living room on the west side to let in afternoon light.

The purple is built-in shelving. Also note that I added Murphy beds to enable dual use of certain floor areas without too much trouble (play during the day, sleep at night).

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Washing machine, two more windows, and a breaker box

I have to admit, Craigslist E-mail Alerts feature is really useful. You can do a search on Craigslist and up near the search bar there is a link that says “email alert”.

Craigslist Email Alert

You can then sign in and add an e-mail alert. For some searches, the number of alerts may excessive and annoying. However, it’s a good way to snag a good deal early. One item I’ve been looking for is an LG front-load washer. We had one back in Raleigh, and loved it, and then there’s one where we’re living now, and we love it. If you get the right model, it’s a big machine, and it cleans well, and it spins fast to give you fairly dry clothes for quick drying. However, I was afraid I’d never find a good deal on a used one. But, as it so happened, there was someone who wanted to switch from a front-load washer to a top-load washer, so he was getting rid of his LG front load washer (the identical model to what we had in Raleigh), and he put it up on Craigslist for $135. (The washer was around $800 new 5 years ago.) I called him within about 15 minutes of him posting the ad, and I scored the washer. It was in much better shape than I expected. It was shining clean and had no signs of wear or tear. They played nice with their machines.


After buying the washing machine, conveniently located in Lynnwood – just a bit away from Mukilteo, which is where the Whidbey-to-Mainland ferry lands – I headed over to Lowes to pickup some non-project related items, and then to the Habitat Store in Lynnwood. Of the Habitat for Humanity stores in the region that I’ve visited so far, this one most consistently has the best deals. I chatted briefly with the manager, and she said her policy is to price things well from the start so they move quickly. But additionally, they color code their items so that they get discounted further automatically if they don’t sell. During this visit, red tag items were 60% off and blue tag items were 30% off (and green and yellow tag items – the most recent items on the floor – were priced as marked). So, if you get a well-priced item that’s 60% off, you’ve got yourself a bargain. Despite their aggressive pricing, they manage to get enough donations to keep their store well-stocked.

So, during this visit, I found 2 more brand-new windows, both identical 6-foot-wide by 4-foot-tall windows (where half the window slides to open) that meet the energy code (u-factor of 0.30 is required, these still had the stick saying they had a u-factor of 0.29, where lower is better). They were priced at $75 each, but because they had a blue tag, they were $52.50 each after the discount. I also found a decent normal-size bathtub that was priced at $40, but it had a red tag that brought it down to $16. Finally, they had a bunch of brand-new Square D load centers (main breaker panel for the house). I got a 200 amp value pack, that included the box, ground bars, 200 amp main breaker, 5 20-amp breakers and one 2-pole 30 amp breaker. The item was not discounted, but at $50 it was still a good buy. I also picked up 3 more boxes of LED lights with 4 bulbs each for $10 per box, which is a price subsidized by the utility.

DSC_6179DSC_6180Circuit Breaker Load Center

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