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What is it?
Gamification in the maths classroom is something I have thought long and hard about over the last couple of years. I used to try to introduce as many games and interesting contexts into my lessons as possible. But reading the work of Daniel Willingham, and his beautiful, important phrase that memory is the residue of thought, made me realise that if students are thinking about the surface structure of these games and not the maths behind them, then there is little chance that they will be learning effectively.
So, does that mean that games no longer have a place in my classroom? Fortunately, no. But I am very fussy on what games I do use. My guiding principle is that the maths must be at the forefront. Whatever it is I need my students to practice must be the key to the game and that is exactly the case with Angle Battleships. Students get so much practice measuring and drawing angles in the kind of fun context that will probably encourage them to put in more effort, and think that little bit harder, than if the same skills were laid out on a worksheet.
How can it be used?
This activity is pretty straightforward, and is explained really well by the author in the presentation. Essentially it is a game for two players, where each must sink the other’s battleships by sending lasers off at angles of their choosing. The beauty of the format is that both players have an incentive to meticulously check the claims of the other, hence lots of practise both measuring and checking angles ensues.
The same format could be used for lots of different areas of maths, from constructing shapes to drawing straight lines and quadratic curves.
Thanks so much for sharing