In context game-based learning games are used as an interesting context to pose mathematical problems. When students play the mathematical context games, they are not doing mathematics but do solve mathematical problems related to the games. For example, in the water bottle flipping activity students play a game to see how many times in a minute they can flip a water bottle and get it to land straight up.
In the activity, students do five one minute trials in which they record how many lands of the water bottle they can make in one minute. The world record for this is 47 lands in one minute. Based on the five trials students then calculate their average number of lands per minute. Students then fill in a table based on this average and answer follow-up questions (Figure 1). The activity has students work with proportional and linear equations through tables and equations. In the whole class discussion after students have answered the questions, connections can also be made to the graphs of students’ equations and interpreting the graphs in the context of the game. Questions can also be posed to compare equations in regards to slope.
The context of water bottle flipping engages students and allows for interesting questions to be asked. Students are able to interpret mathematical answers in the context of the game and make connections between representations. Another example of context game-based learning is the paper basketball activity. In this activity students estimate and calculate how many paper balls will fit into a bucket. After doing the mathematical work students then race to see who can make the most shots of paper balls into the bucket in a minute. This game is engaging and motivates the mathematical work through different representations that incorporates measurement, mean, volume of spheres, and linear and proportional equations. Doing mathematics in the context of games engages students through interesting mathematical work, movement, and healthy competition.
Class closers allow for a quick assessment to see what students have learned and the teacher can connect the ideas back to the stated objectives from the start of the class to review if the objectives were met. Below are some basic examples and following that are some more creative ideas to mix things up every now and then.
Of all the fourth graders at Fairview Elementary the twins, Tony and Tina, were known for their ability to make friends. They enjoyed school but struggled with mathematics. After learning more about the importance of mathematics, Tony and Tina strive to help their classmates have the right mindset. Find out how Tony and Tina's ideas lead to mathematical success for themselves and their classmates!
“You teach math? Oh I never got math.” I have heard the following comment so often, that I decided I would try to do as much as possible to change this sentiment. Mathematics is a subject that has the stigma that some people are “just not math people”. This is a dangerous idea that needs to change. While everyone will not go into a math heavy career, everyone is capable of doing mathematics. The life skills including teamwork, communication, and being synthesizers of information that students can develop from mathematics will help in any career as well.
Mathematics education can be improved with little things that could cause a tipping point. A tipping point is the moment at which ideas and messages can spread very quickly to cause change. Eliminating the phrase, “I never got mathematics” and replacing it with the phrase, “You can do math. I can do math” is a good start to improving mathematics education for all. Beliefs are the best indicators of the decisions that people make over their life-time. By giving children the right mindset at an early age, they will be set up for success!
Mathematics and exercise, what a great combination! The title of this book has two meanings. Children can learn effective ways to group and add numbers through this book. Also, the book extols the benefits of exercise throughout one's life. This wonderful book is fun for children and adults!
Pluses of Pilates encourages students to combine numbers in groups of 5’s and 10’s for easier adding. Children need experiences to see how to count things quicker than just counting by one’s and can work on number facts through reasoning while doing this.
My view on the teaching and learning of mathematics is based on the points below and should be encouraged and instilled in children at a young age.
· Everyone can do math!
· Emphasize reasoning over memorization
· Encourage multiple strategies and ways of thinking
· Math is not about how quick problems can be done but shortcuts with understanding are great!
· Encourage discussion and exploration
· Math should foster curiosity
· Math should be relevant and realistic
Exercise is important for your whole life. Keep in mind the basics below for continuing to exercise and be healthy.
· Find an exercise routine that you enjoy
· Incorporate variety in your routine
· Eat healthy and drink plenty of water in addition to exercise
· Do not go 3 days without exercising
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.