The Value of Using Games in Math Class

Happy Monday! I hope whoever is reading this is ready to take on a new week, and has an absolutely wonderful day. Today, I’m going to be talking a little bit more about some of the teaching strategies that appeal to me in Math, with a specific focus on games. When I was in Teachers’ College, the majority of the lessons in our Math course were focused on games and examples of physical manipulatives we could use with our own students. Why? Why didn’t we just focus on mastering the curriculum, or learn about the most effective ways to use handouts and textbook work? Because my instructor firmly believed in the power of games to build students’ confidence in Mathematics, and to solidify their understanding of various Math concepts. By the end of the year, I did as well.

I soon saw that games have the power to dispel the student myth that Math class is something to fear and/or dread. Games allow students to compete or work together, to have fun, and to take ownership over their Math learning in a highly engaging and hands-on way. My instructor even said that there were years during her teaching career where students told their parents that they loved her Math class because they “never do Math” and “just play games.” Little did they know, those students WERE in fact doing Math, but the games caused them to experience Math in a new and more interesting way.

Sure, there are some concepts that may need to be taught using handouts or textbooks, but I feel as though a textbook should NOT be the primary resource relied upon by Math teachers. There are so many other tools and activities that can help kids to learn Math in a manner that makes sense to them, is meaningful, and that will help them to develop a growth mindset approach to Mathematics as a subject area. Math games not only teach Math, but problem solving, strategy building, and collaboration/cooperation skills that students will take with them beyond the classroom, for many years to come. I will definitely be using games throughout my own lessons some day, and I will also be making a post in the future which lists some of my favourite Math games to use with kids of all ages, so stay tuned for that!


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