Firstly - it's fun! And if we don't have fun we might as well go home.
Secondly - it has numerous ways to be used in maths. I'll run you through the way I used it.
We began with a few football themed maths lessons. I made the broad statement, "I like football because there are lots of goals scored." This is nice and vague and can generate some good discussion. It allows for debate and opinions but can also be investigated. After pulling up the scores in the premier league for the last few weeks, we studied mean, mode, median and range and drew some conclusions.
But I wanted a way to keep this ticking over, so I introduced the class to fantasy football. I set up my team (with their help) and we discussed the need for a balanced team and also managed to stay within the £100,000,000 budget that the FPL website allows.
Once the team was picked I sent letters home inviting parents to set up teams with their children and enter the school league and see if they could beat the teachers. With the competition element, engagement was high and we were off to a winning start.
From then on we checked the scores on a Monday morning to see who the movers and shakers from the weekend were. I'd then use data from the league or teams within the league to set mental maths starters, generate questions in lessons or even base whole lessons on throughout the season. Some of the regular warmup activities were:
- What was the mean/mode/median/range of this week's scores?
- Which class has the highest mean this week?
- Who did best this week - girls or boys?
- What was the mean score or each player in a specific team?
- How many points behind Mr Hills is Mr Rothwell?
You get the idea.
So from very little in terms of time invested by me, we got something that rolled on all year, fed nicely into lessons, got children using maths skills of their own accord, engaged parents, captivated pupils and all for free!
It's year round ideas like these that will create a genuine buzz and will bring longevity to your games-rich classroom.