Sunday, 8 April 2012

Some thoughts about games

Further to my previous post about up-skilling my students, I'm dwelling on one of my favourite things - games.

I love maths games and I try to use them in class, but I do find they meet with mixed success, and it often isn't the maths that is the problem. I began by thinking "Kids these days don't know how to play games" and feeling sad about that. But sometimes I go to a friends place for dinner or a party and a board game comes out, and sometimes there is an adult who doesn't seem to really "get" how to play the game. So I suppose it isn't generational, it's just that not everyone plays games and I don't normally associate with that sort of person.

I think I should persist though, because using maths in a game seems like another level to me. Once the student has a good grasp of the concept, playing a game about it can work on using the knowledge/skill strategically, reasoning about the knowledge, and gaining more fluency at applying the skill. Which potentially also provides differentiation, (although I might be reaching here) as one student makes the most obvious move while another considers multiple options and chooses the best one for the situation.

Over the years I have played a lot of games in class, that I have discovered or invented (mostly invented). I spent a lot of my early part-time years throwing myself into making cards for cool games I came up with and then they didn't work that well or I got bored of them. The legacy I will leave behind me in the teaching world is a large pile of neglected hand-made games. But I will be sharing my more successful creations here in the hope someone else might enjoy them. Stay tuned!


  1. I fully support the games thing.

    I think education should be first and foremost interesting to its students (relevant, entertaining, *something*), and then also contain skills. "Edutainment" is a cart before a horse and so many educational puzzle books feel very light on the fun.

    If only I could teach people how to complete the square in some kind of Angry Birds like context.