I think we can all agree that kids love to play math games. I love to build upon their love of games by incorporating game time into my math block as often as possible. Playing math games is not only fun, but these games can also provide so many benefits. Here are 5 reasons to play math games in the classroom.
Increase Student Engagement
Games can add a certain level of excitement to the classroom. Even though students are thinking, working, and exploring mathematical concepts, it all feels like play. Math games break up the day-to-day routine, which motivates students to pay attention and stay on task longer. When kids are having fun, they are more likely to stick with it and be motivated to work through any challenges they face.
You can find this Regrouping Race Game here.
Choosing meaningful games allows teachers to reinforce the concepts they have been working on in class. While daily practice might become routine and boring, playing math games allows for repeated practice in a new and exciting way. Students learn through the process of play and will be able to connect the game to the skill when it comes time to apply learning.
You can find this Geometry Game here.
Develop Social Skills
Working with a partner or a small group helps students work on taking turns, communication skills, problem solving, cooperation, sportsmanship, and more! As teachers, we can repeatedly model these skills, but students need time to practice them in real-world settings. Playing games is the perfect time to practice. Electronic games and devices are also fun, but kids are often working in isolation. Playing math games with a partner allows opportunities to talk, share, and support others.
You can find this Subtraction Game here.
Provide Opportunities to Differentiate
All kids learn in different ways and at different rates. All students can be playing games that address their individual needs. For example, all students might be playing War with a partner. Some pairs might be working with 1-digit or 2-digit numbers while others are working with 3-digit or 4-digit numbers. While students are engaged in math games, the teacher is free to informally assess the class. The teacher can quickly see who is working towards mastery, who still needs help, and discover any misconceptions forming within the class. The teacher can also use this time to work with a small group.
You can find this Place Value Game here.
Build Student Confidence
Games reduce a student’s fear of making mistakes and failure. Because of this, students are more willing to take risks, explore new strategies, and work through mathematical challenges. As students continue to play math games, they deepen their understanding, which in turn builds confidence. When kids feel confident in their math abilities, it creates a positive classroom culture which is a win-win situation for everyone!
You can find this Dice Game here.
Do you make time for math games in your classroom? Which games do your students like to play? I’d love to hear about them! You can find my favorite games to play during math here. Happy Teaching!