I have to admit that I’m not crazy about “drill and kill” educational games. That said, this evening I saw a good example of an elementary level math game being used effectively. Here’s the story. This evening my girlfriend and I are babysitting our six year old neighbor (Logan). One of his homework assignments was to practice his addition skills. To that end, my girlfriend (Denise) found some online games for him to play. One of those games was Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire found on Math is Fun.
Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire isn’t unlike a lot of other mathematics games that ask students to answer questions and move through progressively more difficult problems until they reach the final goal or get too many wrong answers. What made tonight’s experience different for me is that I saw Denise not let Logan just guess at the answers. She broke out the number line he had made at school and had him do the problems before selecting an answer. Since Who Wants To Be A Mathionaire isn’t a timed game there wasn’t any pressure on Logan to answer before a timer went off. There was still an element of reward though because each correct answer took Logan a step closer to becoming a “millionaire.”
|Number line is mostly blocked by Logan’s head.|
I’m still not sold on the idea of turning a whole class loose at once on “drill and kill” educational games as a lesson plan, but I can now see how they could be valuable activities in the right setting.