Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wanna do Games, STEM and Mr. K

At this week's Global Math Department session, Tim Kubinak shared something "outrageous" that he does with his students on Fridays. He let's them play games for up to 45 minutes. The actual time depends on how well their group did on their math during the week. What games and why? "Let's face it," Tim said, "We're not good at teaching problem solving. We're good at teaching them to solve problems, but not problem solving. If we want to teach them problem solving, we have to exploit their interests. And that's what games do for kids." For that reason Tim makes available a variety of player games for his students. The main goal is to learn problem solving with a STEM theme. He calls it PYG (Play Your Games) which is a gameplay program designed to exploit the interests of students, within the context of reinforcing STEM methodology and problem solving acuity. Students work in groups of three. The amount of time that students are engaged in these activities is determined by results on these quizzes.

Tim has assembled an ecletic collection of playergames, hand held devices, MaKey MaKey touch pads and BYODs as part of his platform for teaching problem solving. Time frame is usually 8:15-9:00 when groups meet to get their equipment for game play. They check on the chart to see how much time is allotted to their group. They are also responsible for filling out the PYG sheet which has instructions for helping them make their session productive.

Though I do the question the method used to determine time for playing (the high scorers get the most time), Tim treats it as a game and I'm sure the kids are motivated to do better on the next grading period so they get more time the following Friday.

The open time for game playing with appropriate rubrics is an appealing way to engage students.

To learn more about Tim's class listen to his webinar at GMD.

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