Games: the Best Math Engagement Strategy

By: Mary Kienstra on: November 17, 2014  in: Engagement, feedback, games

Games are always a good way to boost student engagement in math.  There’s something about adding a bit of friendly competition to motivate students to work hard.  I use many different games and variations of games in my math classroom.  One of my favorites for teaching factors and multiples is on the website, Calculation Nation, a game site affiliated with NCTM.   There are great games on this site that support the Common Core Standards for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.

Last week my students played the “Factor Dazzle” game at  This game is actually included in their text book in the paper and pencil version as it helps the gives students practice with the factors of numbers up to 36.  My students sign on as guests and then click on the “challenge yourself” link under the Factor Dazzle icon.  They play with a partner, against the computer, providing them with the support of a peer and a chance to talk about their learning.  The discussion is fabulous as they talk about their strategies, justifying their thinking.

The thing I truly like about playing the game online is that it provides instant feedback for them.  In the paper/pencil version of thIMG_1283e game, there is no way for the learners to know if they found all of the factors.  But in the Calculation Nation version, they have immediate feedback.  I’l like to believe that the immediate feedback helps them to learn these factors more easily.  I think the immediate feedback also improves their engagement.

What have you found that provides instant feedback for learning?  Do you have favorite games or online experiences that mimic text book lessons?

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