Math = Love: Guest Post: Engaging Students With Games

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Guest Post: Engaging Students With Games

Today, I'm incredibly pleased to share a guest post from Mandy Dyal.  Mandy is a math teacher blogger that I have been following for a long time.  She blogs at Math Dyal.  I love seeing the interactive notebook pages she creates and the practice structures she comes up with.  I also enjoy following her on Twitter and seeing her creative #Teach180 posts.  I'm so happy that Mandy is sharing a game with us today that you can use tomorrow in your classroom with almost ZERO prep.  Take it away, Mandy!    

This time of year can be difficult to keep the motivation going, but I recently discovered these cool FREE PowerPoint games that add a little edge I’ve been needing to get my students working. We are studying Systems of Equations, so the problems are time-consuming. My students want instant gratification when they complete problems, so I’ve been combining practice with this Sunken Treasure game.


I assigned my students five problems. I told them after they finished the first problem correctly, they could hunt for treasure. So completing one problem = one click. I used to have wireless mouse, but it’s gone missing, so the student now walks up to my desk and uses the mouse attached to my laptop. The game board is projected up on the front white-board. I actually like the wire mouse better because it allows students the chance to stand up and move with purpose across the classroom. It’s exciting for the class to watch for a second a see what number they pick and if they find the treasure. 


After they finish two more problems, I check their answers again, and if they get them right, they get two more clicks. Then after the last three problems, they get three more clicks. I liked this break-down because it allowed for me to frequently check in with students before they practiced wrong. Making them do a couple problems between checks also meant that I was able to help students that were struggling and didn’t just spend all my time running around checking work. As students finish, I appoint them to “checkers” who can also verify correct answers.


If they find treasure, they are rewarded with a Dum-Dum, and they get to pick the next game board. This version of the game has 10 different game boards, which was plenty to make it through a class. I averaged about four winners per class. Make sure to keep a list of which game boards you pick.



I love practice structures like this that can be used for any classwork assignment and require no extra preparation on my part – except having some “treasure” available for the winners. Anything that keeps the kids engaged is a win in my book – especially as we enter the holiday season where distractions are everywhere.

Thanks Mandy for sharing this creative practice method with us!  I look forward to using it in my classroom after Christmas Break!  If you liked what you read, please leave a comment to thank Mandy for sharing her experience and expertise with us.  Also, be sure to check out her blog: Math Dyal.  

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the idea! I think my students will really like this!

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  2. LOVE THIS. Definitely using this. Thank you so much :-)

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    1. I used it in my classroom, and it was awesome!

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  3. Had been looking for such games cause i believe more interactive the class is the better our students would learn. Thanks for the post.

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  4. I love that your teaching techniques are always closely connected with involving kids in games. I don’t want to call your lessons planning boring, but the kids will surely stop thinking that about mine if I give them some games to entertain themselves. I also doubt that games can be a decision to every challenge the kids meet in the classroom. Like playing games they will never learn to order custom college paper but they will surely gain some skills needed for development of writing skills and they will be thankful for the lessons you have taught them.

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  5. So that's one way to make maths interesting and engaging. Nice post!

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