Designing maths games

Designed into these learning stories:
Designing a math learning game
Bir matematik öğrenme oyunu tasarlama

Narrative

My maths teacher colleague Rene and I are struggling with some students in our classes who find maths particularly difficult, are not engaged with the subject and who do not have a secure understanding of some basic maths concepts.  We have tried a number of methods to try to re-engage them without much success.  We have realised that if students’ understanding is to improve, we need to revisit these concepts in a different way from how they were first experienced.

We decide to use game and app creation to enthuse students and develop a programme of work based around simple, intuitive, ‘drag and drop’, online programming software, such as Scratch or Alice or app building software. These software programmes support the development of computational ideas and creativity alongside maths skills such as understanding degrees of turn, systematic reasoning and creating logical sequences.  We involve the school’s IT department to ensure we have the technology and training to use and teach the programming package.

First, students revisit the concepts of maths they need via some online maths games and smartphone apps. We then support them to create criteria for a good maths game and evaluate the games they use. We explain to the students that they will learn computer programming in order to be able to build their own interactive online maths games/apps aimed at helping younger children learn some of the concepts they are revising. The students are supported to develop the skills needed to effectively use the software via sessions which include direct instruction, open-ended experimental time and sharing learning amongst peers.  We also invite people working in the field of game or app development to provide guidance for students, answer questions and introduce students to the possibilities of computer programming as a career.

Once the students are confident at using the software, we support them to design simple maths games, making explicit the maths skills they are using.  By considering how they could teach younger children, students deepen their understanding of the maths concepts they need to revisit.  The completed games are saved in a repository they can be accessed and used in the future.  Students peer assess them against the co-developed criteria and younger students are invited to play and give feedback on them.  We also include a competitive element, so organise a school-wide gaming day where students play the games and vote for their favourite.

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This post is also available in: Turkish

One Response to Designing maths games

  1. Adil Tugyan says:

    That is a very clever idea and a detailed prepared plan for the project.As we know maths is problem for most of the students and it is always hard for teachers to deal with all the students individually esp in crowded classrooms.That activity can easily be used in that situations.All the best

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