As a newly appointed Mathletics Lead Educator I thought I’d jot down a few points about why I thought we use this system.
The first is the curriculum side, which can be tied to UK/US/AUS and other curricula for a student in any year/grade (so the majority could be doing tasks related to the year you are teaching, though a teacher can individually set a students to a different year if this is necessary). Online activities keep students actively engaged with the topics that they have been set, and they get points for correct answers which lead to a weekly certificate programme.
The other is a more fun-based educational side, the “Live Mathletics” in which students compete against others in a timed (1 minute) answer as many questions as you can (though 3 strikes and you are out).
As a simple example my Year 8 ICT class recently had had their weekly Maths lesson in the computer suite and the Mathletics they had been working on was reinforcing that topics they were covering as part of the UK Year 8 National Curriculum. Using a computer is something they are all used to and the teacher had restricted the topics they had access to to the one they were covering that week and the previous one. They actually spent a little more curriculum maths (30 minutes) than the suggestions made in a recent Mathletics blogpost in part because all Year 7-9s have a 40 minute Maths lesson in the computer room each week. They were allowed to continue or to do Live Mathletics – most chose the Live Mathletics (basically it’s more fun!) and play live against students throughout the world.
In my ICT lesson we had been working on a topic that we’d just completed, following 3 weeks of work and still had 15 minutes of the lesson left. Rather than let them get on with whether they liked I asked them to log in to the Mathletics and then then had to play against each other using the newly introduced class only Live Mathletics. They had a great time counting down as a class “3, 2, 1, go…” and chose to go through the levels 1 to 10. Who actually won didn’t matter and the fact that they got a random 3 others (from having 7 peers in the class) didn’t matter. What mattered was that they all had such amazing fun, bonding as a class, in this great online activity. And a simple example of how this worked is that at level 10 none of them have the faintest idea how to answer the questions – then one of them got the answer of “log(100) + log (10)” right and he was as amazed as were all his peers who openly congratulated him. As an educator I can teach students right answers from wrong, but they learn best when they are fully engaged.
Mathletics is a serious educational tool that can aid students in developing their mathematical knowledge, whatever stage of their school path they are at. It can also be used as a great peer group motivator. We’ll continue to use it as a great tool at BIS, and with teacher’s heavily involved in encouraging students via it I’m sure that our students can only continue to benefit.