Thursday, September 24, 2009

Game-Based Learning Site for Innovative Math Educators

Innovative math educators looking for engaging ideas to enhance teaching and learning should check out this newly launched, curriculum-based, online math game site for 11 – 16 year olds.


UK-based www.mangahigh.com features math games that go beyond mental arithmetic and help kids to enjoy practicing quadratic equations and trigonometry. The site has developed engaging math games that students enjoy playing while they learn complex math concepts by solving authentic, real-world problems.


The fun to play games are designed to make math challenging, yet playable in a gaming context. The games allow students to grasp and practice sophisticated math concepts in an entertaining way. The initial launch includes the following games which are available for free with limited features. An upgrade can be purchased.


1. Save Our Dumb Planet – protect Earth from meteors and other space hazards by using algebra skills to calculate accurate trajectories for a life-saving surface-to-space missile. Players use algebraic substitution, indices, coordinates and graph-plotting to plan their missile flight paths, leading them through linear, quadratic and, eventually, cubic equations.

2. Flower Power – grow and harvest valuable and exotic flowers to make your horticultural fortune. Players practice their knowledge of fractions, decimals and percentages with beautiful results.

3. Pyramid Panic – help a prematurely-entombed mummy escape from a pyramid by solving geometry puzzles to build a path across the burial chamber to the exit. Set in Ancient Egypt, players start with simple puzzles involving areas and lengths of rectangles, triangles and kites, through more complex applications of Pythagoras’ rule, to the ultimate challenge of solving problems involving trigonometry.

4. BIDMAS Blaster – Professor BIDMAS' roborators have run amok and need to be destroyed. In this fast-paced action game, players practice their skills with brackets, indices, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction.

5. Mangahigh’s most powerful game is Prodigi, a math learning engine that features thousands of math problems with worked solutions and hints that adapt to each student’s ability and learning speed. Students, teachers and parents can customize Prodigi by skipping items that have already been mastered in the classroom, or focusing on areas that need specific attention. If necessary, students can learn using Prodigi with a minimum of intervention from educators, as it guides the student through the math curriculum in a logical, pedagogic order.

“Math is frequently perceived as boring and irrelevant by students. Mangahigh aims to make math fun and engaging through the use of games and also to spark an interest that reaches beyond the curriculum,” said Dr. Marcus du Sautoy, Chairman of Mangahigh’s Board of Advisors, currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. “Mangahigh will give students context and a deeper insight into math, as well as provide interesting facts that they can share with their friends,” he added. “Mangahigh aims to fuse online games and math. Having observed millions of players hone their game-playing skills at King.com, I realized that, if this same motivation and stimulation could be bought to mathematics education, it could be a game-changer,” added Toby Rowland, founder of Mangahigh, formerly the co-CEO and co-founder of King.com, one of the world’s largest casual games companies.
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