Maths Games uses a comic book-style presentation to give maths students in year 7 and 8 the opportunity to become better at problem solving. The characters in this program are Toby, Jesse and Danny. They are teenage spies. Maths Game year 7 and Maths Game year 8 students assist these protagonists by their completion of tasks. The myriad of missions and the exotic locations “transport” students outside the classroom. The Australian Mathematics is the basis of the challenges Maths Game year 7 and Maths Game year 8 students must face.
Maths Game is linked with Maths Quest. All SpyClass games are directly aligned with Maths Quest textbooks. The training level is aligned to Chapter 1 which deals with numeracy. It is followed by 18 levels of challenges, that are story-related, and depicted with two-dimensional comic book artistry. As Maths Game year 7 and Maths Game year 8 students solve challenges, they are rewarded. The challenges have components that relate to sub-topics found in the book. Rewards include gold stars or collectible items. Gold stars are awarded for loyalty, use of technical skills, problem solving, infiltrations and hacking. The collectibles are items that relate to the mission. Examples are glass that allows face recognition, a grappling hook, and a set of car keys. Students have access to a profile screen that tabulates reward items and allows them to see the level achieved on any challenge.
Teachers can easily see which skills are being tested and direct Maths Game 7 and Maths Game 8 students to an appropriate mission. Challenges are aligned with the “Maths Quest” text. By clicking on the ‘recap’ buttons, Maths Game 7 and Maths Game 8 students can access missions that came prior to one already completed. When students find challenges difficult, they can click on links to relevant information in the textbook.
The characters are strong female and male models from a variety of cultural makeups. Students with diverse interests find the Maths Game appealing. The storylines are engaging.
Engagement is the focus of SpyClass. Teachers can use it for homework assignments following a single or multiple mathematical topics. Sometimes it is used to introduce a mathematical topic. Students then complete the ‘mission’ after finishing regular maths work. Higher order thinking is required of students, as they revise and apply knowledge in real-world scenarios.
Whether Maths Game year 7 and Maths Game year 8 students are considered typical, reluctant, or advanced, they will benefit from Maths Game. Students rate their mathematical ability on each topic. The levels are ‘gold’, ‘silver’, and ‘bronze’. The selection will direct students to challenges at the defined level. Easier or harder challenges can be selected within an objective. Students choosing any of the levels will be able to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Every teacher cringes when students ask, “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” The SpyClass is the antidote that perfectly answers that question. Students performing at the required level can use SpyClass as an introduction to a new topic. Sometimes playing SpyClass is a reward for completion of a topic. Reluctant learners are allowed to use mathematical knowledge and skills in lifelike settings. Advanced students are offered an incentive to reach an adventure’s end and build a gold star filled profile.
Maths Game year 7 has 18 missions for students to complete. Maths Game year 8 has 14 missions. Training for each level begins at ‘The Estate’. Specific chapters in the Maths Quest 7 or 8 eBookPLUS are linked and related to missions in the program. There are three learning objectives contained in every mission. Students apply their knowledge of mathematics to complete the missions.
Classroom teachers with students of mixed ability find the program useful when individualizing instruction. Three levels of difficulty are presented for each learning objective. Students work at their own pace. The badge-system rewards students for skill and persistence.
All reading ability levels are taken into consideration with the format of story presentation. The graphic novel screens can be easily comprehended by confident readers. Those less confident can return to screens in order to fully understand the details.
Mathematics curriculum in Australia prioritizes problem solving as the venue for obtaining confidence and skill. This program is an enjoyable resource to aid in achieving success. Students are transported beyond the classroom with storylines that develop and enhance skills of mathematics.