Math is one of the most divisive subjects in a school student’s syllabus! Some hate it, some fear it, and yes, some understand and love it too.
Traditional methods of lecture, practice, homework and assignments provide some results — but often not enough to make students embrace math as a subject. Today, the same modes of teaching are being taken online during the pandemic. Without updating and refreshing the way in which math is taught, mathemaphobia (yes, there’s actually a word that means a fear of math!) is arguably worsening.
While teaching students math online, it’s important to rethink course content and structure to suit the medium, and not simply carry forward traditional math books to an online learning management system (LMS).
One great way to do this is to develop math games that help to increase students’ willingness to engage, and break down mental barriers.
Engaging math games
A math game can be developed around anything from existing math-oriented paper-and-pen puzzles such as Sudoku and Bingo, to complex video games, escape games, murder mysteries, and more. In such story-based or progressive games, what happened in the previous level can impact what happens next: gear gained in Level 2 can be used in Level 3, etc.
Why use a complex video game format to teach math? The active engagement that a video game generates pairs ideally with mathematics’ traditional requirement for practice. Students don’t even notice that they’re applying the same formulas over and over again, as they play the game. For instance, students could calculate the value of x and plug in the answers into a code that opens a safe that contains the princess’ jewels — the number of which can be used to unlock the next level.
To elevate your math game to a level where students learn without even realizing it, these are a few elements that your e-learning game should incorporate:
- Creative game and character design
- Leaderboards to track top scorers
- Achievements and special unlockable rewards
- Structure around a traditional game format
- Protagonist and Narrator/Mentor characters
Diversified learning paths
A major reason why students do not enjoy learning math is that they often feel out of their depth — or, which is sometimes worse, they grasp the concept faster than their peers and find repetitive exercises monotonous and tedious.
The best part about using level-based gameplay is that students must defeat the previous level to reach the next. Therefore, it’s possible to put students on faster or slower learning tracks, based on results in previous modules.
By customizing the game to put each learner on a personalized learning path, the learning experience becomes more effective and engaging. Both boredom and intimidation are thus eliminated.
Quirky, interesting examples
Questions and examples are a core part of the mathematics learning process. Examples are easier to understand, grasp and remember when they’re unique.
A simple example could be to personalize the question by inserting the student’s own name or their friend’s name. The student can be asked to provide the name to be used in all queries in the module. For example: If you buy 4 apples and give 3 to <Friend’s Name>, how many do you have left?
Quirky examples tend to create greater recall — for example: An alien with 37 tentacles is holding a balloon in one. What is the probability that you can correctly guess which tentacle the balloon is in?
The idea is to overcome the seriousness and monotony of an often challenging subject by presenting it in a way that’s more enjoyable and relatable.
Questions are a key part of learning and growing. If you’re creating a math game, you can stay in character within it by setting up a chatbot with the ‘mentor’ character, if you’ve created one.
Create a forum for asking and answering questions. This increases the social aspect of learning and makes math learning more effective.
Math is a unique subject that terrorizes far too many young students. Give them a way to learn faster, better, more fun and more effectively. With the right math game, it’s possible to make learning math fun. Let’s work together to deliver great results. Let’s eliminate young learners’ phobia of learning mathematics! Contact our experts to discuss how to get started.