Equations: The Game of Creative Mathematics


This set of games and puzzles taught the operations of arithmetic in an entertaining setting and was sold from about 1963. Equations was developed by Layman E. Allen at Yale University Law School as the director of the ALL (Accelerated Learning of Logic) Project that developed mathematical games under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Allen applied for a trademark for Equations in September 1963; it was registered in July 1965 but that trademark expired. In December 2013 Autotelic Instructional Materials Corporation applied for another trademark that was approved for publication in April 2014.

The set includes thirty-two wooden cubes—twelve are red, eight are blue, six are green, and six are black. Each cube has a different one-digit number or mathematical symbol imprinted on each of its six faces. These symbols include the four basic symbols of arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) as well as symbols for exponentiation and taking square roots.

The set also includes a timer, a playing mat, and a 1970 edition of an instruction book written in 1969 by Allen, EQUATIONS: The Game of Creative Mathematics. All these materials are stored in a green plastic case is marked on the cover: EQUATIONS (/) THE GAME OF (/) CREATIVE MATHEMATICS.

In 1968 Allen moved from Yale to the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in the Law School and the Mental Health Research Institute, where he continued his work on instructional games. Over the years the name and location of the distributor of Equations has changed, although the phrase “Games For Thinkers” has been associated with it from before Allen’s move to Ann Arbor. Price lists in the WFF ‘N PROOF Newsletters (part of the documentation in accession 317891) indicate that at first the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold for $3.50, including postage. In 1970 the price was raised to $5.50 and the game was distributed by WFF ‘N PROOF through Maple Packers in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. A firm called Learning Games Associates of Ann Arbor later took over distribution of the game and donated this, and another (MA.335305), example to the Smithsonian in 1975. Fairfield, Iowa, then became the location of Autotelic Instructional Materials as well as of the next distributor of the games, the Accelerated Learning Foundation.


Games For Thinkers Website.

Date Made: ca 1970

Developer: Allen, Layman E.Maker: Learning Games Associates

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Michigan, Ann Arbor

Subject: EducationMathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Mathematical Recreations, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Learning Games Associates

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.335304Accession Number: 317891Catalog Number: 335304

Object Name: game

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)wood (overall material)paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 2.5 cm x 15.25 cm x 12.5 cm; 31/32 in x 6 in x 4 29/32 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-2f67-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_694596

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