Thursday, July 21, 2011

Games in mathematics

Developing strategic thinking in students is an emerging issue.  Living in a world of instant gratification, the ability to think is less prevalent in classes today.  The need for general knowledge seemingly has passed and rote learning tasks have been removed from WA curriculum.  There is little need to compete as everyone has access to the same information, gathered by Google, edited by Wikipedia.

In comes boardgames.  To play a boardgame a player needs to learn the rules and then work within the rules to seek advantage over competing players.  There is no prize other than the pleasure of learning and succeeding.  To succeed players must learn to strategise.

More than a few think I'm a more than bit nutty about games.  What I have found is that to engage students requires a wide variety of games and getting them to the point where they can open a box, read the rules and immerse themselves in a game is equivalent to the difficulty of getting a student to enjoy reading.  Similar to reading, success is based upon finding a related context.  Simpler gateway games can lead students to a love of thinking, not just success and winning.

To aid this below is my list of games that have been used successfully:

Gateway games
Pitchcar (7 players, <30 mins) 
Citadels (7 players, <30 mins)
7 Wonders (7 players, <30 mins)
Claustrophobia (2 players, <1hr)

Say Anything (5 players, <1 hr)
Apples to Apples (8 players, <1 hr)
Nuclear War (4 players, <1 hr)
Dixit (5 players, <1hr)
Lupus in Tabula (10 players, <1hr)
Carcassonne (4 players, <1 hr)
Ticket to ride, Europe (5 players, 1 hr)
Illuminati (7 players, 1+ hours)
Munchkin (7 players, <1 hr) 

Strategy Games
Through the ages (5 players, 3 hours) 
Indonesia (5 players, 3 hours)
Battlelore (2 players, <1 hr)
Space Hulk (2 players, <1.5hr)

Games currently under evaluation
Troyes (5 players, <1 hr)

Many games have been evaluated in establishing this list.  There are game links on the right hand side to help find and investigate these games further.


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