Reflections on Game Day…

Arcade Game Day!

Arcade game day was awesome, everyone came up with great games that involved learning through play!  I was impressed by everyone’s level of creativity in coming up with a combination of both fun and learning.

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Was your game one of chance or skill or a combination of both?  How did people respond to the style of play?
My game, EZ as Pie Fraction Action was a game of both skill and chance.  It begins with a bit of chance by spinning the wheel.  When the wheel stopped on a fraction, then came the skill part.  The player needed to create the fraction visually with a paper representation of a pie.  When the fraction is properly displayed with the paper pie, some skill was then required to tell me the percentage of that fraction.  The final part of the game required a bit luck by being able to throw jacks into a cup that displayed the percentage equivalent of the fraction that was selected. Judging from the various player reactions, it seemed like everyone enjoyed the game.  Even though some players couldn’t tell me the percent some fractions equaled, I had to keep giving them clues 🙂

Did your game allow for players to construct knowledge (through play they learned the lesson) or was it more of a showcase of knowledge (asking players for answers to questions would be a good example)?
My game can be used to learn about fractions by seeing it visually with the pie and it can also be used for rote memorization learning methods.  Once the players have a foundation of fractions, this game can be used to memorize the various fractions facts.  For this reason, it think the appropriate grade level is 4th or 5th grade.

How did the mechanics of the game turn out?  Was it slow, fast, cumbersome, just right.  Same with the rules.  What would you change and why?
The mechanics of the game turned out well.  The electric motor and battery pack kept it interesting.  The pace of the game was quick as you move from one part to the next.  This is especially useful for kids who have shorter attention spans.  If this game was implemented in a classroom, I would modify it to include a timer for each game.  As the kids get familiar with the fractions, the next step would be to make it second nature to them.  Sort of like 2 + 2 = 4 (no one thinks about that but everyone knows the answer)

At the end of the first day, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I had to understand.  I had never blogged before and was not familiar with some of the concepts such as embedding a youtube video, let alone making a youtube video!   Through asking questions, researching and collaborating with my classmates, each day was more fun and interesting than the previous day.  I now have a twitter and pinterest account that I use daily.  Aside from the blogging and creating games in class, I really enjoyed reading and researching about different bloggers in my field.  This was one of the very few classes that I can say I’ll be referencing for years to come.  It will definitely play a role when I look for efficient methods of teaching as I begin my career as an elementary school teacher.

I now understand why the class was designed and constructed around the arcade.  If I had to put a theme around this winter session, it would be ‘Learning Through Fun’.  Since we are all [hopefully] future educators and former/present students.  We can see that when a topic is interesting it makes it easier to understand and learn.  For children, what better way to learn than to go to an arcade.

The assignment that I’ll never forget was the ‘make a tutorial assignment’.  Although it wasn’t as easy as it sounded, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Thank you Professor Smith for a wonderful experience!

EZ as Pie Fraction Action

There are many methods in teaching children fractions.  I modified a traditional fraction lesson from Patty’s Pie Shop Lesson Plan.  My modified lesson plan will be directed towards 3rd and 4th graders.

I will use a pie as an instrument to teach the concept of the fraction.  I will first explain that a fraction represents a portion of the pie.  The pie will be cut into 8 pieces.  Therefore each piece will represent 1/8 of the pie.  I will also explain the terminology associated with fractions such as numerator (top number) and denominator (bottom number of the fraction).  The bottom number represents the total amount of slices in the pie and the top number represents how much is remaining in the pie.  For example 5/8 means that there are 5 pieces left out of a possible 8 pieces.

It will be easier for children to understand fractions if they have visual aides to represent the equation.  Children are visual learners and the best technique of how to teach fractions, in my opinion, involves showing them what fractions are.  Making them realize that they use and see fractions everyday without even knowing it.  My sons favorite sport is basketball and he figured out that free throw percentages are fractions.  His favorite player, Carmelo Anthony shot 9/10 from the free throw line, so his free throw percentage was 90% of that game.

I would modify this lesson by adding in some game play ideas.  I drew a picture of a pie and cut it into pieces.  I then made a wheel that has the different fractions on them.  The first step would be to spin the wheel.  If the wheel lands on 1/4, the next step would be to show me, using the pie, what is 1/4 of the pie.  Then they will have to tell me what is the percent of 1/4, if he gets it correct, he gets 2 tickets, he will then have 2 chances to throw a jack into a bowl labeled with the correct percentage of the fraction.  If he gets it in he gets 3 more tickets.

mockup of my game

My eight year old son was the first player.  He spun the wheel and it landed on 3/8.

He then showed me what 3/8 of a pie looks like.

The next step was to tell me what percent is 3/8 equal to, he couldn’t tell me what the answer was because he didn’t know how to work it out.  He is in third grade so they didn’t do fractions and division yet.  So, I decided to make a small chart that shows the division on how to get the percentage of a fraction e.g. 3/8 x 100/1 then divide….  By making this chart, he was able to see how fractions turn into percents.  After I did that he was able to find the answer so he got 2 chances to throw the jack into the bowl labeled 37.5%

My other two children, ages 5 and 10 also played the game.  The ten year old was able to to get everything correct because he is learning fractions in school, getting the jack into the bowl was a bit challenging but he had fun trying.  Surprisingly my five year old was able to show me on the pie the correct fraction but of course she wasn’t able to tell me the percentage.  The chart was not easy enough for her to find the answer.  She also had a tough time getting the jack into the correct bowl because of her aim.  She had a lot of fun playing and I’m sure if she played a few more times, she would know all the fractions and percents.

The kids had a lot of fun playing this game.  My 10 year old who is in fifth grade has to memorize fractions on flashcards.  I make him sit for twenty minutes a day and memorize them which he hates.  He thought this was a much better way to learn.  This mockup has simple fractions, once students can grab the concept, I can change the fractions and percentage to suit their age group.