If making the subject seem relevant is one of the toughest things for a math teacher to accomplish, then certainly the next most difficult task is making math enjoyable.
Or is it the other way around? Maybe! And in an earlier post, Eight ways Kindergarten Hold the Key to 21St Century Instruction, we discussed one educator’s view that only kindergarten provided children the eight essential elements (he refers to them as “ways”) needed for educational excellence.
One of those ways was play and play by its very nature is relevant to children!
Play is more than mere entertainment, more than simply keeping kids busy until their parents come to take them home.
Play is learning. Kids love to play. They are completely engrossed by whatever game they are engaged in and are happy to learn the rules of that game.
Math might be viewed as one of those games, so the trick is to make it fun.
According to Dan Donahoo a blogger for the blog GEEK DAD, one game maker for children that produces games to make math fun, is Motion Math Games.
Donahoo tells how he played their first game, Motion Math on his iPhone and found it nearly as addictive as Tetris.
That first successful app became the company Motion Math Games and there are now more games, the most recent calledQuestimate “...that encourages learning of the...mathematical and scientific principles of predict and prove.”
To experience what Donahoo was talking about, Yours Truly downloaded two free games, ZOOM and WINGS.
I found them at the Apple App Store.
I felt confident I would not be humiliated by these games as they were for children as young as four.
While I am pleased to report that I found neither of these games for four-year-olds addictive, my grandchildren seemed to enjoy them.
Both games, as advertised, were all about motion and math (ok arithmetic, we’re talking four-year-olds here!): one contained frogs that leaped and croaked when you got the right number in a bubble, and the other a soaring bird that crashed when you got the number wrong. Not bad!
We here at RobotsLab.Com realize Math is a big challenge for students.
We love to see innovative initiatives like these games hopefully increasing the students sense of engagement and understanding in math.