Game On! Using Games in the Classroom
Fun, Engagement, and Learning All Day!
What happens when you announce, “Game Day!” to your class? My fifth graders loved hearing those words come out of my mouth during math class. That didn’t mean we would have a free-for-all class period of course, yet I had a room full of excited, engaged students.
Games in the Classroom – Research
Marzano has found that instructional games are associated with gains in student achievement and lists ways to get the most out of games in the classroom (ASCD). In my own experience, I used games as a formative assessment tool. I had the entire class period to observe students and work with students who showed signs of struggle with basic math skills. If the game involved decimal multiplication, I noted students who were weaker in multiplication fluency. I often tailored future homework assignments to their needs.
Types of Games For Your Math Classroom
Teachers can easily differentiate simple partner or small group games based on difficulty. I love the Connect Four style games because they are easy to store, require few materials, and they can be leveled based on degree of difficulty. These work great for all four operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide). Use the Connect Four style for whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percents, and even a mix of these representations!
Want an example? Check out this decimal freebie!
I also love Memory-style games for younger students, as I created here to help students practice counting coins. It’s easy to make your own memory games in a table on your computer.
Other whole-class activities such as Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire are perfect for encouraging strong group interactions within your classroom as well. It’s easy to find ready-made Powerpoint templates to DIY – just plug in your questions and go!
Have you found success with educational games in your classroom? Tell me about your go-to games!