Image via WikipediaThis week, I went back to the web for some interactive math games, and although this may sound like a direct advertisement, I was able to find some great material through the site that I visited and wrote about last week, Math Playground. Specifically, I discovered additional activities when I needed an alternative to a simple worksheet or problem set. So, here’s another roundup of a few elementary math games.
Last week, my tutoring student encountered Greatest Common Factors and Least Common Multiples for the first time. As can be imagined, she experienced some difficulties retaining and understanding beyond the basic concepts. I wanted to reinforce the rote multiplication work that we’ve been engaging in with the flashcards and repetition. Yet, I wanted to tie this to our new knowledge of multiples. The name of the game was Catching Multiples, and the objective was simple: catch all of the multiples of a selected number (my student needed work on “8”s) and avoid all of the non-multiples. I love that you can choose the number to work on, and the game needs no additional explanations. One downside was that I felt the multiples were coming in a bit too fast, as my student occasionally had trouble positioning the catcher in time.
Fractions are often a tough concept in the beginning for many students. I found that it was best to include visuals as often as possible to illustrate the part-to-whole relationship of fractions. Once we had the basics of what fractions were, there was the next step of tackling equivalents. I liked the game Fraction Equivalents, as this was a great way to have the student sort several pictures, simplified and non-simplified fractions into three separate circles. This allowed some guess/check space for the student and gave my particular student an opportunity to be wrong yet still learn from her mistakes. It was nice that she was able to proceed at her own pace and after completing the third level, she felt extremely proud of her accomplishments.
When I was in grade school, my teacher Mrs. K introduced us to a game called Krypto. The game involved 5 cards, a sixth card called the “Krypto” card, and the goal was to use each card once along with any mathematical operation in order to obtain the Krypto card. A variation on this game came out later called “24”, and I found a Smart Notebook lesson as well as a Flash game online that featured the same principles. Although I will always be partial to Krypto, I enjoy playing 24 with my student, and she seems to be improving with her mental math (we don’t allow pen/paper during our games), as she is getting quicker at coming up with solutions. The game is also very versatile as you don’t need any special equipment. When I taught math in the classroom, I would just ask for 5 random numbers plus a “Krypto” number, and we had ourselves an instant puzzler.