Importance of Games in Math
By Sherwin M. Orbon
Using games in teaching can help increase student participation, foster social and emotional learning, and motivate students to take risks. The important part of using games in the classroom is trying not to gamify everything and to start small, using games with rules that students understand.
Mathematical games are ‘activities’ which: involve a challenge, usually against one or more opponents; are governed by a set of rules and have a clear underlying structure; normally have a distinct finishing point; have specific mathematical cognitive objective.
Games create a context for developing math skills. Through games, students can discover ways to apply what they have learned in the classroom. They feel motivated to find creative solutions and take an active part in their own learning. Games provide opportunities to explore math concepts, and notice new patterns and relationships. While playing, students can test out different strategies and ideas, determining their efficiency, and also learn from others’ ways of thinking. With this chance for exploration and trying out new ideas and theories, understanding is deepened and reasoning skills are strengthened.