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# Math Games: Yes, they’re fun – but are they important for your kids’ math growth?

Apr 14, 2022

The short answer is Yes! Math Games are not only fun, but it’s also a great tool to reinforce and even accelerate math skills without students realizing that they are actually studying. One of our students, a second grader, was still struggling with the concept of “complement of 10s”: 1+9, 2+8 etc.; we have tried different approaches but she was still struggling – things changed as soon as she started playing the game “complement of 10”: her skill jumped from just awareness to mastery level!

Besides helping in developing computational fluency, playing math games could also reduce children’s fear of making mistakes; this could be very helpful for students who have math anxiety.

Mathnasium centres often hold a Math Night, where we organize mass math games so kids can have fun with math. The purpose is to engage kids in math activities, with the hope that they would become more interested in math.

At our Grand Opening, we organized this event as well. Both adults and kids enjoyed the games; bigger kids even tried all of the game stations. "Big kids" like Mayor Ken Johnston tried some games too :) - as well as the representatives from Red Deer Chamber of Commerce and the City, and also a couple of grandparents! Yes, math games are for all ages. Below are some of the games that you will enjoy playing with your child(ren), and even with their grandparents!

• Heads Up*): Two players; each player holds a card on their forehead without looking at the value and look at the other’s player’s card. The third person announces the sum of the two cards, and then each player figures out the value of their card. There’s only one player? No problem. A child can still play and all you need to do is open the other card on the table.
• Sums up, Sums down*): set the time for one minute, then flip one card at a time and the player mentally adds or subtracts the number; count up from 0 for addition or count down from 100 for subtraction and see how many cards a player can get in one minute.

Multiplication/Division

• Heads Up*): the same as Heads Up Addition/Subtraction but the third person announces the multiplication result of both cards.
• Tic Tac Toe Multiplication**): Before playing, players agree on multiplication by what number they are going to play and use two 6-sides dices to find what number to multiply by. For example, if it is multiplication by three, prepare 9 cards with its multiplication numbers such as 9, 12, 15 etc.

Fractions

• Ordering Fractions: using two dices, a player rolls both dices and identify the numerator and denominator, then writes the fraction number on a sticky note and place it on a number line. Repeat the steps; the player needs to figure out where to put the fraction in the number line – whether it is bigger or smaller than the other numbers that are already in the number line. Repeat until several fraction numbers are in the number line.
• Domino Fractions

Logical/Strategic Thinking

Problem solving that involves Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

• Proof
• 24

Please be mindful of games that solely based on memorization. The goal of learning math is to understand the concept, not to have the correct answer quickly without understanding where it comes from. Kids who are not good in memorization could become disengage and feel incompetent.

For more pictures of the games, please see our Grand Opening Facebook Post.

• *) Use Mathnasium cards, or create your own: 4 times 12 cards; each card has each number from 1 to 12.
• **) create your own: one set of cards for one Multiplication set.
• For practicality, you can use unused business/name cards to make your own cards.

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Mathnasium of Red Deer is your neighbourhood’s math-only learning centre, and we are here to help your child. Our centre director, Riwan, and the whole team, would be happy to meet you! We are conveniently located in the shopping destination area in Red Deer: 5250 22nd St, Unit 30 B – at the Gaetz Avenue Crossing shopping centre, in the same area as Chapters Indigo/Starbucks, Michael Arts, Petland and Ashley, and the phone number is 403-872 MATH (6284).