its a challenge
to do geometry when two friends are shouting out types
of furniture, but thats the whole point of Numbskull,
an SAT preparation game invented by Emory law student
had a brainstorm while playing Craniumwhich involves
not only logic and trivia, but also sculpting with clay,
spelling backward, and humming a tunewith his family
over Thanksgiving break.
started discussing ideas for board games, and came up
with an SAT prep game, says Bergman, who was a business
major at Washington University in St. Louis at the time.
My sister was in the process of taking her SATs
and had taken a prep class, and I had taken the LSAT the
previous summer, but the idea of designing a straight
SAT game didnt appeal to me. I didnt want
to just take the review program and put it on flash cards.
There had to be a way to have a good time with it.
an entrepreneur who ran his own T-shirt company in college,
wanted to combine pop culture with quadratic equations,
silly tasks with sentence completions, and physical challenges
with mental strategies. After months of experimenting
with different ideas, he drafted a one-page pitch.
Cincinnati company Late for the Sky, which produces regional
take-offs on Monopoly, bought the idea, using Bergmans
prototype to design Numbskull ($29.95, available at area
bookstores and on-line at http://www.lateforthesky.com).
believed strongly that it could really help a lot of students.
Absolutely, said Shannon Edwards of Late for the
Sky. Its selling very well. Some schools are
even starting to carry it in their guidance departments.
include pop-cultural references, such as: How many tight
dresses with no backs could Jennifer [Lopez] try on in
420 minutes if she can put on nineteen in an hour?
a visual learner, says Bergman. We try to
use situations students can relate tobuying concert
tickets, or hot dogs at a ball game, rather than bushels
timed questions, competing players perform physical stunts
(like sit-ups) or recite lists (such as ten country-western
artists). At the end of the game, players take the NSAT
(Numbskull SAT) to get an idea of how well they might
do on the real test. Ties are broken with a game of Paper,
about 1.3 million high-schoolers taking the SAT annually,
the game has a fresh crop of potential players each year.
My biggest hope, says Bergman, is that
Numbskull will make students feel comfortable and relaxed
when they walk into that test room on a Saturday morning.M.J.L.