Players Can Tackle Asteroid Or Killer Robots By Solving Sums
A web games company has launched a series of games – recognizable computer games with asteroids being blasted out of the sky and attacks by killer robots-which, it claims, will teach you maths as you play. Apparently you’ll barely notice that you’re learning.
Manga High was developed by Toby Rowland, co-creator of the gaming site king.com. He was inspired by watching people play games on king.com. “These people were developing incredible skills”, he says. “It dawned on me that the games had a lot in common with maths, and that we might be able to make some casual games that could teach maths almost better than straight classroom contact.”
There are five free games on the site, mangahigh.com, all linked to the GCSE curriculum. In one, player save the Earth from an asteroid strike by choosing the correct equation to plot the course of a missile. Another features robots who can be killed only when you have solved the sum on their shields by using “bidmas”, the order in which maths expressions must be solve (brackets, indices, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction).
“the most encouraging thing was that the games appealed to the spiky- haired brigade,” says Rowland, “teenagers who would not normally be engaging in maths.”
Even board games can help. A 2008 study in US asked primary school kids to play snakes and ladders regularly. After two weeks, the kids showed increased ability at number skills.