With the growing trend for children to use tablets, PCS and other types of computers for entertainment, it is no wonder that the common math lesson or worksheet may not exactly excite them, let alone grab their attention. Whether we love or hate the fact that computer type games are a large part of our student's lives, we can’t change the reality that it exists and is almost always available at their fingertips outside of school hours. As teachers, we are faced with the challenge to constantly come up with innovative and fun ways to engage our students. Some days we might nail it and others we don’t. Then there are some students who are continuously reluctant to get on board with their work; we may not always have the right technology at hand to use for that type of lesson; so what’s a tired teacher to do? You’ve tried many tricks, felt like you’ve encouraged and praised lots, yet, still no luck? In this post, I will share with you an activity that will engage even some of your most reluctant learners. I’ll also explain why you should try it, before dismissing it as another ‘gimmick.’
What Sort of activity engages learners?
So, back to the wonderful world of gaming that plays a part in many of our students every day lives. Why is it so addictive? Leveling up, gaining experience, earning ‘brag titles’ or special items. These games that our students play frequently give them a sense of purpose, and achievement. Whether it is passing a difficult level, conquering a challenging boss or solving a mind-boggling puzzle, most games have one thing in common, and that is a purpose and a reward. As a gamer myself, I could see how games easily hook kids into this world and can also be addictive. I’m totally guilty of falling into a Candy Crush craze to only realize that I was actually upset my lives were over, and I had to wait before I could attempt a level again. This was when I thought to myself if only I could get my students to be this addicted to math or reading in class. How awesome would it be to have them feel sad that math was over just like when lives were over on a game like Candy Crush?
Well, yes we can play games. I'm sure we all do that at some point in our classrooms. But, what about the pencil and paper activities? Is it possible to make the good old math worksheet as fun as a game?
YES, it can be done!
“My class loved this activity! They enjoyed math and wanted to know if there were other activities like this to finish! Will continue to use in the future!” Wendy Y. July 29, 2017 (Case of The Super Bad Superhero)
“This was AWESOME. My 3rd graders were HOOKED with the video and worked quietly and diligently for an hour trying to rescue the groundhog. The best compliment to you from one of my sweet kids..."can we do another one for Valentine's Day" Yes, yes we can!” Melissa H. February 4, 2018 (Case of The Kidnapped Groundhog)
“Students are HIGHLY engaged when working on this task. The hardest thing is getting them to stop! Thanks” Basic Ideas February 4, 2018 (Case of The Selfish Elf)
The Math Mysteries in my range follow a similar concept as a game, there’s a purpose in every story along with the exciting opportunity for discovery and reward. Students don’t even realize how much math they are doing in some of the clues because they are so focused on discovering important information to crack the case. The process of eliminating possibilities adds to the excitement as students keep trying to guess who the culprit is, or where they must go, or what they need to solve each mystery.
WORK HARD, PERSEVERE & CONQUER!
Believe it or not, what appears to look like regular math worksheets to a teacher, the game purpose feel to these pages changes the kids’ perspective to what would normally be a drill sheet. I’ve found kids keen to learn or do an extra lesson to master a skill they need to conquer a challenging clue. So if you ever come across a clue that is particularly difficult, take the time to ‘stop and learn’ as a class to get through the page together. When a clue gets too tough, I find it important to teach students perseverance and compare it to a hard level in a popular game they are all familiar with. Keep trying, learn the skills needed to pass, and aim for success!
OTHER EXTRA MOTIVATORS
To give these math mysteries an extra game-like feel, we’ve added extra motivators so that you can engage even some of your most reluctant learners:
Whether it’s a break from your usual routine, or you might need something easy and fun to leave for a sub. These math mysteries will keep your kids learning and practicing important skills.
Try a complete Math Mystery for FREE! All you will need to do is print, photocopy and go! Have the video hook (optional) below ready for student viewing to set the stage to engage. Then challenge your kids to the task! See who can solve the mystery!
I would love to hear how this goes with your class. Enjoy!
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.