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Subject: Games for teaching maths to 11 to 16-year-olds rss

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Chris Kohlman
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janos_hunyadi wrote:
kohlhatter wrote:
I used to teach special ed. math for students in this age range.

I didn't use PnP so I can't comment on that aspect, but a few games worked well for me.

I will reference the Alberta (Canada) curriculum when I discuss curricular links.

Blokus covers off some of the geometry curricular objectives (Transformations, Tessellations). It isn't all that expensive either.

I have recently discovered Fauna. It has some cross curricular links with science, and has a fair amount of measurement in it, and can use Metric or Imperial units. I just played it a few weeks ago and felt it would be best with ages +12 as there a fair amount of mental estimation using measurement in it.

Lost Cities uses a lot of adding and subtracting integers.

A lot of games use math and students practice with it, but in terms of checking off the "cover the curricular objective box", these may work.

All three of these games are not hard to teach and aren't freakishly expensive either.



Good suggestions, thanks. Yeah, I've played Blokus - good game. It may be suitable for the 11-year-olds. Lost Cities is also a great game, but practising basic arithmetic is more suitable for 7-8 year-olds I would think.



7 and 8 year olds generally don't have the ability to:

a) mentally add multiple numbers, including two digit numbers with regrouping
b) have an understanding of negative numbers, much less the ability to work with them

Lost Cities is not an appropriate game for 7-8 year olds.
 
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Scott Moore
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kohlhatter wrote:
janos_hunyadi wrote:
kohlhatter wrote:
I used to teach special ed. math for students in this age range.

I didn't use PnP so I can't comment on that aspect, but a few games worked well for me.

I will reference the Alberta (Canada) curriculum when I discuss curricular links.

Blokus covers off some of the geometry curricular objectives (Transformations, Tessellations). It isn't all that expensive either.

I have recently discovered Fauna. It has some cross curricular links with science, and has a fair amount of measurement in it, and can use Metric or Imperial units. I just played it a few weeks ago and felt it would be best with ages +12 as there a fair amount of mental estimation using measurement in it.

Lost Cities uses a lot of adding and subtracting integers.

A lot of games use math and students practice with it, but in terms of checking off the "cover the curricular objective box", these may work.

All three of these games are not hard to teach and aren't freakishly expensive either.



Good suggestions, thanks. Yeah, I've played Blokus - good game. It may be suitable for the 11-year-olds. Lost Cities is also a great game, but practising basic arithmetic is more suitable for 7-8 year-olds I would think.



7 and 8 year olds generally don't have the ability to:

a) mentally add multiple numbers, including two digit numbers with regrouping
b) have an understanding of negative numbers, much less the ability to work with them

Lost Cities is not an appropriate game for 7-8 year olds.


Lost Cities may not be an appropriate game for all 7-8 year olds, but it is for many - I have first-hand experience of this and, indeed, BGG users recommend the game from age 8. So, I wouldn't rule it out for teaching purposes.

And as I wrote in my first post, I'm looking for games that can help 11-16 years olds practise what they learn in maths. Even 11 year olds have already learnt about negative numbers (they are covered at primary school), so Lost Cities wouldn't be useful.

 
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Scott Moore
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I've already found one game that my friend is going to try out with a lower ability Year 7 class (11-12 year olds) studying probability:

Mountain Climber

 
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Joe J. Rushanan
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The mathematics in Spot it! can be taught easily enough (combinatorics of finite sets with restrictive intersections, just like in SET). Fire and Ice is another example.

 
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Darren Mac
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I'll suggest UBONGO

I'm having kids choose 3 of the UBONGO pieces and draw them in the bottom left quadrant of a co-ordinate axes.

They then draw 2 different composite shape, in different quadrants, nad have to supply the set of transformations that will move each piece to its solution.

(All after playing the actual game, of course )
 
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R Moore
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janos_hunyadi wrote:
Hi all,

I'm looking for games that can be used in a normal classroom environment (30 students) as an aid for teaching mathematics to 11 to 16-year-olds. Obviously given the limitations of school resourcing, free print and play games or games using easily obtained components (dice, playing cards etc.) would be best.

Any ideas would be appreciated but I would particularly welcome references to specific parts of the English schools curriculum that the games could be used for.


Blokus has been shown in several studies to be effective in increasing mathematical self-efficacy and problem solving skills, especially related to geometry. I highly recommend several copies of this game for a little math class differentiation or diversion.. how ever you look at it.

 
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Agent J
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Once I read about how JC Lawrence views Blokus and then I realized I had never actually played it before, but just a shadow of what it could be.

Then I cried.

Actually, most of his posts have that effect.
 
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Pete Henninger
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An easy easy wargame like Napoleon at Waterloo uses odds based combat resolution tables, so the students would have to add up their strengths and compare what multiple they are of their opponents strength. Using a calculator actually slows things down, so the mental exercise would be excellent.
That particular one is available print and play.
 
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Charlie Costlin
Portugal
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Supertmatik An international mathematics competition for 6-15 years old pupils.

superTmatik = Differentiation in teaching + Greater motivation + ICT in the classroom + Fun

superTmatik Mental Maths is an eductional game which combines mental stimulation and fun to develop skills in the four basic maths operations.

See more: http://www.eudactica.com/competicao
Rules: http://www.eudactica.com/media/wysiwyg/pdf-en/rules.pdf
 
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Martin R Maly
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Hi,

I have created a competitive card game with calculation. www.mathtornado.com . It is free to print and is a lot of fun with 3 or more players. It only takes a few minutes to play one round so there is time for other things to do.

 
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David Cheng
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Kingdoms is actually a good math game. If you don't mind making PNP, here is a PNP version I made.

Fully placed board


tokens


Board


Rules
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/9431/kingrules-pdf
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Chris Flood
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janos_hunyadi wrote:
What the kids are being taught:
Key Stage 3 (11-14 years old)
- number and algebra: rational numbers; ratios; accuracy and rounding; linear equations; polynomial graphs
- geometry and measures: properties of 2D and 3D shapes; Pythagoras' theorem; transformations; 2D coordinate systems; perimeters, areas, surface areas, volumes
- statistics: presentation and analysis of grouped and ungrouped data; central tendency and spread; experimental and theoretical probabilities


Pretty much any Knizia game should work here. The guy's a math professor, so there's some mathematics at work underneath all his designs, most of which should be approachable by this age group. The teacher would probably find a feast of lessons in Modern Art alone, which takes just 45 minutes and requires some mental algebra for basic play and basic statistics for advanced play.

Overanalyzing flicking games like Crokinole, Catacombs, etc. might help with the geometry, in the same way you can break down pool shots into a study of angles and vectors.

In either case, the teacher will get the most out of hooking the kids on the games first and then breaking the games' strategies in separate lessons. They'll get a lot more out of this than by just playing the games repeatedly without analyzing them.

janos_hunyadi wrote:
Key Stage 4 (14-16 years old)
- number and algebra: proportional reasoning, direct and inverse proportion, proportional change and exponential growth; upper and lower bounds; linear, quadratic and other expressions and equations; graphs of exponential and trigonometric functions; transformation of functions; graphs of simple loci
- geometry and measures: properties and mensuration of 2D and 3D shapes; circle theorems; trigonometrical relationships; properties and combinations of transformations; 3D coordinate systems; vectors in two dimensions; conversions between measures and compound measures
- statistics: presentation and analysis of large sets of grouped and ungrouped data, including box plots and histograms, lines of best fit and their interpretation; measures of central tendency and spread; experimental and theoretical probabilities of single and combined events


I don't think you're going to find anything that fits here, unless the teacher (who isn't yet into boardgames) wants to get into theory behind game design. Abstract designs especially seem like they could offer a lot of good material for geometry lessons.

Although unrelated to board games, I recommend fantasy sports, especially baseball, for statistics. Have the kids build their own projection system, and they'll understand pretty much everything you'd learn from an intro stats class and then some.
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Jacob Walker
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » Games in the Classroom
Re: Games for teaching maths to 11 to 16-year-olds
Hi Scott, this is well after the fact, but here are a few ideas based on the concepts your students are learning (I'm just assuming your still teaching at this level):


Number and Algebra
Obviously there's a lot of important concepts here, but rational numbers jump out at me in particular. Her's a game for equivalent fractions:
On a piece of paper, draw a long rectangle. draw another immediately below it, but divide it in half. Draw another below that, but dividing in 3rds. Continue this process until you have divided a line into 6ths. give each student a copy of this "game board" along with a standard 6-sided die. Now have the students roll the die. If they roll a 1, they must shade 1 whole rectangle on the board, or any equivalent amount. If they roll a 2, they must shade a half of a triangle, or any equivalent amount (say, 2/4, or 1/3 and 1/6). The 5's will be the most difficult, being prime and having no equivalent fractions on the board (besides 5/5 = 1). You can have students race to shade the entire board first, or see how far they can go before they roll something they can no longer shade. Lots of potential variations on this one.

The card game 24 and many of its variations would also work for practice in a lot of these concepts. The original relies on whole-number arithmetic, but they have variations for fractions and algebra. It's a not a terribly expensive game, and it's the kind of thing that can be easily acquired with grant money.

Equate is also worth considering.

Geometry and Measures
Blokus is going to be a good option for spatial reasoning, but isn't really going to address a lot of the geometric ideas you are teaching here.

My wife and I recently discovered the game Swish, which does an excellent job of turning transformations into a game. All the cards are transparent, featuring a circle and a hoop of varying colors. Players look at the cards to try and find a "Swish", which is a combination of cards such that every circle is inside a hoop of the appropriate color. Since players aren't allowed to touch the cards before calling swish, they are forced to perform the necessary transformations (rotations, reflections, translations, and glide reflections) mentally. As your students play, you can ask them to identify the types of transformations they are performing on the cards to create a Swish. It's very similar to Set in gameplay design, but more obviously mathematically related (or, I should say, more obviously related to high-school level mathematics). This one wouldn't be cheap, but I personally think it should be a must for any math teacher.

Statistics
When it comes to probability, you really can't go wrong with dice games. I created one I call "Upper Limit". Players roll a set of dice, trying to achieve the greatest sum they can. You can reroll any die to try and improve your score, but the trick is that if your die ever lands on its highest number, you lose that die and all the points it would have given you. So on a six-sided die, the best score you can get is 5. Students are forced to look at the score they have, and decide to risk losing points to try for a higher score. For instance, if you roll a 4 on a six-sided die, your odds of rolling a better score (a 5) are the same as your odds of losing all your points (by rolling a 6). Probably not worth the risk. Of course, the odds of rolling a lower number are even higher. This game can be played exclusively with six-sided dice, but I prefer to use a set of polyhedral dice instead (4,6,8,10,12, and 20 sides). This is a little more interesting, has slightly more difficult arithmetic when it comes to tallying your score, and has the added advantage of helping players learn to identify all of the platonic solids.

It's also usually interesting to take a look at some casino games. Craps (again, a dice game) is usually fairly easy to analyze, as is roulette, and this makes it easy to show students the mathematics behind the adage "The house always wins".


Some General Thoughts
When you get right down to it, there aren't really a whole lot of games tailored towards mathematical concepts. Lots of games rely on basic arithmetic or probability, even notions of graph theory and topology, but games are rarely centered ON these concepts. Generally, games in a math classroom amount to simple drill with some sort of arbitrary "game" mechanic tacked on. Perhaps flash cards, perhaps some sort of competitive element, but still, just drill.

As a math teacher, I know that this is regrettable, and of course, I have the power to do something about it. Unfortunately, while I have had many an idea for board games and card games, none of them has really centered around a mathematical concept. Still waiting for that stroke of genius.


By the way, my favorite game to use in the classroom is Nim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nim

It's an excellent exercise in logical thinking, and even has a solution in binary if your students are particularly ambitious (I had a 6th grader figure it out).
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