Math is often seen as a dry and tedious subject by many students. Yet math underpins so many things we do in our daily lives – from cooking and shopping, to sports and hobbies. Finding ways to engage students and make math more fun can lead to better understanding and retention. Using games is one excellent way to add an element of excitement to math lessons.
The rise of educational technology has opened up many new possibilities for bringing math to life through digital games. Delta Math, for example, is an adaptive online program that feels more like playing a game than doing homework. It offers a huge library of standards-aligned math content, from basic operations to calculus. Students work through challenges, earn points, win trophies and level up like in a role-playing game. The platform caters questions and support to each learner’s needs, keeping them motivated through the power of play.
Other math game apps use puzzles, races against the clock, brain teasers and more to turn skills practice into a gaming adventure. Students get hooked on beating their own high scores or reaching new levels. Popular options include Prodigy, DragonBox, Motion Math and Math Blaster. The blend of gaming strategy, rewards and friendly competition makes polishing up on fractions or algebra more fun.
Digital games are great, but unplugged math games shouldn’t be overlooked either. Simplicity is key – many are made using just pen and paper or basic household items like cards or dice. These back-to-basics games encourage active participation and social interaction. Math relays, bingo, matching games and more get students collaborating, moving around and thinking on their feet.
Escape rooms and scavenger hunts are another way to incorporate math into an immersive, game-like environment. Students seek out clues and puzzles involving math concepts to earn their “escape.” These hands-on games allow for review and practice of skills like spatial reasoning, ratios, and measurement.
Customizing for Concepts & Age Groups
The best math games target specific concepts and are tailored to learners’ levels. Basic card and dice games can be adapted to work on anything from counting and place value to algebra and geometry. Digital games have settings to customize difficulty levels and the skills focused on. This makes it easy to align games to what students are currently working on in class.
Fun games can build math confidence at any age. But different types work better for different age groups. Young students tend to respond well to short, active games like math relays. Older students enjoy more strategy-focused games building on their reasoning skills. Adaptations can make any game more or less complex to suit learners’ needs and keep their interest.
Finding ways to add excitement and a spirit of play to math learning pays off in increased student engagement, motivation and retention. Games make achieving mastery feel more like an adventure than plain old work. With a little creativity, it’s easy to turn reviewing and practicing math into a quest students actively want to complete.