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3 Math Activities to Gamify Your Elementary School Classroom

Olivia Jones
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At Unruly Splats, we know that student engagement is the key to student academic success. One of our favorite ways to keep students engaged in the classroom is by using games. Students, especially younger children, respond well to the levity and fun of educational games. Maintaining focus during an entire school day can be challenging for anyone, and a game can be just what students need to refresh their focus and re-engage in the subject material.

But educational games have benefits other than just improving academic outcomes and boosting student engagement. The games themselves provide an opportunity for students to absorb the subject material in a different way. This change of pace and learning style can be especially helpful for students whose preferred learning method differs from the styles used most often in the classroom. For example, students who are kinesthetic learners may benefit from a dynamic, physically active game more than a sit-down lecture. Games are a great opportunity to engage students with a little bit of exercise in the middle of the day, which is crucial for healthy development. They also teach students valuable skills like teamwork, problem solving, emotional regulation, and patience.

In short, games for kids are a great idea in the classroom and beyond. Here are three examples of math games teachers can use to add fun and levity into math lessons!

Adding Up

The Adding Up game challenges students to solve basic addition problems with Splats. The Splats display several different numbers: a goal total, a tally, and several component numbers. Students click or stomp on the Splats displaying component numbers, using different combinations to add up to the goal number. The Splats light up green when students select a correct permutation!

This game can be played online or in-person as a fun, physically active game by stomping on the Splats tiles. You and your students can customize the parameters for the game by adjusting its code to allow certain numbers or changing other settings.

The Adding Up game is a great way to reinforce addition practice in a lighthearted, low-pressure setting.

Place Value

Place value is a difficult concept to teach young students because it’s highly abstract. But our Place Value game transforms this concept into a tactile, fun experience! To play this game, students set up a line of Splats tiles, either in-person or in the digital Splats game. This line represents the place values for a large number. The tiles start off at a zero value, and add a value of one with every stomp or click, depending on the format of the game. Each tile can hold just ten stomps before changing the place value of the other tiles, which is reflected with LED displays.

This kinesthetic, active game lets students experience addition and place value concepts in a tactile way.

Place Value Math game with Unruly Splats
Place Value with Virtual Splats

Human Calculator

Math games in the classroom can do more than bring math concepts to life– they can also introduce important technology! All of our Splats games are customizable, and we encourage teachers to work with students to make the math games work with students’ abilities and preferences. The customization panel [see below] introduces basic coding skills without getting into any confusing details or requiring special training on the part of the teacher!

Human Calculator math game with Unruly Splats
Human Calculator with Virtual Splats

The Human Calculator game lets students control a calculator with their stomps or clicks, depending on whether your class uses Splats tiles or the digital version to play this math game. One Splat displays the numerical total of the game. The other two add and subtract one from this numerical total, respectively. Students stomp on one tile to add and the other tile to subtract. Teachers have found that using this math game for their elementary school classrooms makes solving math word problems more intuitive and fun. And of course, all of the Splats games are an opportunity for students to get moving while engaging with the subject material.

We love these math games and think that teachers will find them invaluable as a tool to mix up routine in their elementary school classrooms! But what we often hear from teachers is that Splats bring a lot of joy for students as well. Christine Danhoff, a Technology Integration Specialist, talked to us about what students think of the Splats math games in the classroom. “Students are able to jump on the Splat, to touch it with their hand, to get up and move around, while doing math,” she told us. “They don’t even realize they are doing math activities! There’s a lot of fun, a lot of smiles, a lot of giggles. The kids really enjoy these engaging [math games].”

These three math games are just a few examples of how teachers can incorporate fun, educational math games in the elementary school curriculum. Splats are flexible and customizable, so you and your students can create your own games or join one of our national stomp game challenges! If you’d like to see more ideas for math games in the classroom using Splats, click here.

Unruly Studios makers of Unruly Splats, programmable, stompable floor tiles that help kids learn fundamental coding skills through recess-style play. Best for elementary and middle school students from PE to science or coding class, a great addition to the classroom for active STEM coding and play!

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