Breaking the math mold

Math can be a divisive subject (pun intended): People seem to love it or hate it.

Teacher Natalie McCutchen has hit on a unifying solution: breakout games. In her Camp Discover class, Breakout Games + Math = Fun, students weave math into a game platform to create an experience that tops traditional classroom learning.  

After exploring a variety of ways to set up digital breakout games, the students work in pairs or small groups to develop a story that will drive the game. Within the story, the students add three questions, or locks. Someone who plays the game must answer the questions one by one to continue the game. In keeping with the class subject, the locks are all math related. Creativity comes into play not only in the story writing and lock development but also in the look of the games as the campers can customize their creations.

People who play the game developed by Max W. and Christian T. will need to be on their toes: Their locks cover fractions, shapes, and positive and negative numbers.

Hayden M. and Allen Z. were still working on the locks they would add into a theme common to all students. “We used a template she gave us, and we brainstormed and made a plan,” Allen said. “Our game is about the first day of school. There is a boy named Ronald, and he’s nervous about the first day of school.”

Games varied throughout the room, but one thing held true throughout them all: Breakout Games + Math = Fun.