There you are some dice, a molded piece of colored plastic, and bunch of spaces plopped on a colorful piece of thick cardboard, and you are happy as can be because you are playing a game. There are probably three or four others right there with you. Sometimes you pick up a card, answer a question, sometimes you get sent backwards or lose a turn, yet you keep on playing and keep on smiling. Tap into this mysterious attraction in your classroom by using quality board games to make math fun and you have a sure fire way of keeping the students’ interest, and provide an innovative way to practice math skills.
A quality board game is not defined by the packaging. They must have several key elements to keep interest going.
First is the time factor. Although everyone has played the marathon Monopoly game, in reality 15-20 minutes works out well.
Second is the bonus opportunity. A way to get a free turn and to jump ahead some spaces are important elements which keep the interest going.
Equally important is the penalty. Losing a turn, getting sent back to the beginning, or backwards some spaces just as motivating and adds to the intensity of the game.
One element that fluctuates is whether you have to win by the exact number. Older students get caught up in that, younger students don not like it so much.
If a math board game has these elements, it will not matter if it was quickly drawn on a sheet of paper or one bought for a hefty sum at a store. The students will enjoy competitive nature of the game.
A quality educational board game needs to incorporate the above elements and add some educational value.
The math problems presented need to be an integral part of the game, usual you so a problem of some sort, then move.
The material needs to be reinforcement. They need to know know it well enough to do independently. It should never be a concept that is just been taught and is not understood. This makes the game too hard, because the work is too hard, and the purpose is lost
Board games are a good way to review concepts that have not been covered in awhile like place value, time, money, comparing numbers.
If an educational board game used to make math fun has these elements it will be successful and the students can work on solidifying their grasp of many concepts.
It is important in the search for a quality educational board game to use in math class that versatility be taken into consideration. You want the math board game to be appropriate for many different skills and even have several options of rules. An eBook with printable board games would be an effective way to meet these criteria and will absolutely make math fun.
Sue Gnagy Fegan used a structured, sequential multisensory teaching approach for the past 34 years. She saw first hand the benefits of engaging students in productive, hands on activities in class. She created and has presented Make it Fun! Make it Challenging! Make it Multisensory! workshop at conferences across the country.