Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Insane Asylum - Simplifying Radicals Game - Results

I was reluctant to play this game with my students due to all the rules and how complicated I think it is.  But, I decided to take a risk to see how it goes.

The game rules and videos can be found HERE.

My timeline:

Day 0:  Go over previous test, pre-test on simplifying radicals, and fill in the prime factorization sheet (this was a short class due to early dismissal).

Day 1:  Play the game whole-class style to learn the rules.



Day 2:  Play the tabletop version of the game.



Day 3:  Have conversations with the class on how the game ties in with math (less than 10 minutes) and post-test.

Day 4:  Lesson 1 - traditional teaching style.

Day 5:  Lesson 2 - traditional teaching style.

Day 6:  Test

If you are interested in the pre/post-test, I made it on Socrative and here is the code:  SOC-18934767

There are two questions on the pre/post-test about the game that they should skip when they take the pretest.  Also, I couldn't figure out how to get a square root symbol in the answer, so I type "sqrt" instead.

The results:

Pre-tests:

  Period 5:  29.5%

  Period 6:  42.2%

  Period 7:  35.2%

  Overall:  35.5%


Post-tests:

  Period 5:  52.1% (22.6% increase)

  Period 6:  45.6% (3.4% increase)

  Period 7:  48.6% (13.4% increase)

  Overall:  48.8% (13.3% increase)


These increases are all over the place.  I do have a theory and it's this:  It depends on what the leaders (AKA cool kids) of the classroom think.

The 'leaders' in period 5 said that they liked the game and it was well thought out.  I believe that other students were more willing to give the game a chance and therefore learned from it.  That class was engaged, and many of the students on the post-test said that they enjoyed the game and would like to play it again.

However, in period 6 a few of the 'leaders' said that they didn't like the game (they said it was too complicated) and I noticed a downward spiral from there.  I saw students sitting cross-armed and said, "Can we just have the worksheet?"  As I walked away from each group to circulate, I would see them either stop playing or cheat to make it look like the game was closer to being over (or open their laptops as you can see in the background of one photo above).  Many of the students said on the post-test that they didn't like the game and did not want to play it again.  I also noticed that a handful of students were finished with the post-test in under a minute.

Period 7 was somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

It appears as though the complicated rules will either win over a class or turn them off and I have no way of knowing which way it will go.  But my conclusion is this: if the students are willing to play the game, they will learn something.


Here are all of the materials if you are interested:

Prime Factorization sheet to use during the game.

Practice 1

Practice 2

Tests -->  Version 1, Version 2, Version 3


Next time:

For one, I will make sure that I have a rules document printed for them.  I just ran out of time again.

Somehow I will have to hype up the game.  Maybe I can teach the rules on a more personal level than whole class.  I'm not sure how to accomplish this.



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