• Using Math Games to Improve Spatial Sense and Algebraic Reasoning

      Umber, Robin E.; Baker, Patricia E.; Lach, Tisa M. (2001-07-01)
      Using games in the classroom to facilitate learning has been common practice among teachers for many years. Games tend to offer students many opportunities to participate in learning and to receive immediate feedback on their ideas, thus increasing their attentiveness and interest level. For teachers, games facilitate individualization of assessment and instruction. This study tests whether the use of math-related games alongside formal instruction improves students’ ability to solve problems involving algebraic reasoning and spatial sense. Two fifth grade classes completed a pretest similar to the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT). One of the classes then played math-related games for up to 160 minutes per week alongside their regular instruction while the other class engaged in standard instruction. A posttest was then conducted after twelve weeks to monitor change. The author found that while pretest scores were broadly similar, the difference between pretest and posttest scores was highly significant only for the experimental group. Therefore, math-based games do improve students’ ability to solve problems involving algebraic reasoning and spatial sense.