Playing maths

Working with Gifted and Talented children can be a challenging experience. My group of G&T Year 6 students are smart, have a range of interests and love challenges, but they are not easily pleased. They know what they want and they expect me to deliver it. And I can tell they have high expectations.

Today I wanted them to work on some fundamental mathematical skills such as logic, memory, spatial recognition and analytical thinking. And what is the best way to introduce those subtle but all important skills to a group of 11 year olds, but a videogame?

So this morning I decided to use “The Clockwork Brain” an iOS game, which consists of a series of well designed original mini-games that encourage players to develop and practice the all-crucial mathematical thinking skills. It is fun and engaging with the level of difficulty linked to the players’ performance.

Train your Brain the Steampunk Way!

My group of Year 6 students were ecstatic and understandably happy to exchange working on problems with playing a game. They soon settled down and I could see them focused on the task at hand, trying to complete the activities before time was up.

They were concentrated and tried hard to improve their scores. To my delight they were also able to reflect on their performance and discuss how they can become better players. I have also encouraged them to discuss strategies and exchange tips.

I can tell they were really pleased and could see that it was a positive learning experience for them.

The good thing about this game is that everyone can play. As it practices mathematical thinking, it does not involve any math work. So even if maths is not your strong suit, you will enjoy it!

The games are accessible to younger children as well as adults. My daughter, who is in Year 3, has been playing the game for about a year now and she still enjoys it. And I have been playing on and off for quite some time now.

I am now on the lookout for some more games to use with primary school children. If you have come across engaging and novel applications/games, please share!

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