Trying to find math inside everything else

A Boss Fight?

One of the things about arranging your grading system like a game, as well as being a math game aficionado, is that it is pretty easy to combine the two. While yes, students can take quizzes or write essays to gain levels, they can also beat me in a math game. Of course, I’m not easy to beat, so winning against me would really show some mastery. (I do, though, allow them to gang up on me when the game is more than 2 players.)

The only students that really challenge me are the ones that hang out in my room at lunch, even though I’ve offered the challenge to everyone. And it’s cute because when they do lose they get even more determined, often because they may lose by a very small margin. (This is occasionally by design.)

The only game I’ve lost so far is Blokus, where the two Kevins beat me (but my score was still above the 4th player). As a reward, I gave them a level in Visualizer, as I figured that was the most applicable skill to winning the game. Planning ahead and visualizing paths in your mind is a useful skill. That same skill is the reward if they beat me in Ricochet Robots. In that game a team of Jane and Kevin tied me, so I still gave them reward, but they didn’t win.

It’s interesting trying to match games with skills. For example, the reward for winning at 24 is Tinkerer (since you need to play with numbers and try different things to succeed). It’s easy for games I made myself: if they can win at the Factor Draft (an upcoming post, I swear), they are a master of factoring. I have considered giving some points, not quite mastery, if they win against their classmates or my co-teacher, but to be a master, you gotta beat the final boss.

I’d love to have a bigger collection of games that I can use as assessment of skills, not just algebraic skills but the Standards of Practice as well. Any suggestions?

Comments on: "A Boss Fight?" (5)

  1. suevanhattum said:

    I love Katamino (a game using pentominos), but it would be for visualizing too. Check out the game called neXtu at, and see if it matches any of your standards. Would 2048 match any? (Probably not.) Maria Anderson has a games page that you might find useful ( I liked this fraction and decimal ordering game, but I don’t know if students will:

    I like games. I might be able to think of more later.

  2. This post makes me sigh like a school girl gazing at pictures of Channing Tatum. As I read it, my students are busy designing their own math games. We should do a google hangout soon to talk. I’d love your opinions!

    • We should! Did you know that earlier in the year I started a Game Making Club with my students? It started off well but petered out – the students at this school aren’t so good with afterschool activities, and since it started in November there were a lot of days of no school, and thus no club, in the beginning.

      But making games is hard! Especially making good games. Especially especially good math games.

  3. suevanhattum said:

    Speaking of making math games, have you seen Math for Love’s new game, Primo?

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