Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Multiply Who, a math game

This past semester I got to teach a senior project class. Four preservice elementary teachers working on understanding math games, game design and making their own. Sam came into class with the idea for her game. All the games were tested with kids, and went through multiple revisions and I'm really proud of their work and the games they made.

GUEST POST by Sam Bosma.

Learning to Go Forwards to Go Backwards

Many of us remember ‘learning’ multiplication in second or third grade. I remember ‘learning’ multiplication in 3rd grade through the use of flashcards. It didn’t matter what was happening behind the scenes just as long as I got the right answer/ could memorize the answer.
Too often with multiplication, we see children simply memorizing that, for example, 3 x 8 is 24 and not really understanding the ‘why’ behind how it works. The problem with this memorization is that once students move on to division, we see them getting very quickly. This makes sense since how can we expect students to go backwards (the undoing of multiplication) if they can’t even move forwards (multiplication).
In the game I have invented, Multiply Who?, my attempt is to have student thinking more deeply about multiplication instead of simply memorizing. In this game, students will have to find patterns and think about the components of each number in order to ask the most strategic questions in order to guess an opponent’s number.

If you are interested in learning more about this game, watch the video down below or click here for the instructions and rules.

John's postscript: I got to see one of the playtests of this game with a class of 5th graders and was impressed. The format of the game works really well for 2 on 2 playing. And though Sam put the sheets in sleeves, you could play directly on a printup as well. And the game is highly adaptable to level, by modifying the sheet. But the best thing to me is that this could definitely lead to students making up a sheet for playing and really getting to do the math.

Handout: gdoc, pdf

Make It, Take It
In addition to making their own game, the teachers made a video for a game of their choice that they'd like to see in a classroom. Sam chose Make It, Take It, a money game I made up a long time ago for a teacher that wanted a money game for 2nd year.

Again, highly adaptable. It's nice how just the progression of play gets players to think of new combinations.

Handout: docx, pdf

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