Math Games

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I would have loved to blog last night, but we were driving to Virginia and thus I could not.

Today though, there was no driving, and we got to hang out at my great aunt’s house playing games, doing crafts, and cooking!

I’m a huge fan of playing games. In my family we specifically have a big thing for card games.

There is a game called Phase 10 that you could consider one of our big “family games”, and today that was the main thing we played. It involves sets and runs along with strategy and patients to make it through all 10 phases with the least amount of points against you. Most people in my family are math people so numbers are awesome to us!

When ever I play a card game it always reminds me of a time at Nerd Camp (Duke TIP) where I learned  about probability through a card game. We first took an entire morning learning to play Spades and also playing ourselves some. This game is similar to Rook of Bridge where there is betting and partnerships involved. Then we spent the second part of the day, and most of the next, working on group projects where we calculated the probability of getting different suits, or specific hands, or other statistics like that which we could apply to the game. While we were doing these mini projects, we learned about equations that we could then use for solving other equations as well when problem solving (the course was titled Mathematical Problem Solving). After the project and during them, we also used this information to solve short word problems or problems for our Mathematical Battles.

It was so much fun!!!!!! After we learned to play, during our free time we would play against each other and also teach people in other courses. When I went back to school, I just kept waiting for us to get to the probability section so I could get a refresher about what I had  learned over the summer as well as talk about what I learned. I had also hoped we would get to do fun activities with it as well.

I was then really disappointed when we barely spent any time talking about probability especially because many of my peers then did not grow to love that section because they felt it was rushed and difficult.

Why can’t all math be taught in forms of games and Mathematical Battles? (I didn’t really talk much on the Mathematical Battles, and this isn’t the exact link to what we used, but in a over simplified summarization: they are events where 2 out of 3 teams competed with each other by going back and forth challenging the other to solve challenge problems we were given the day before and the 3rd team served as a jury to divide the points up based on the answers given. And they were AWESOME!!!!!)

I know not everyone is super motivated by competition, but I also know that a lot of teens are motivated that way. When working with little kids you often hear that they are more engaged when you make things into a game; why can’t this logic be used with high schoolers too? Learning is suppose to be fun, so HMW make learning at school more fun for everyone?

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