Math Games

Published on Thursday, March 26, 2009 in , , , ,

Change MakerIt's time to wake up your brain with a little math! Don't worry, in this task that must be done, there is an element of fun.

I'll even start off easy with Quick Math. This is a test of speed in identifying the proper mathematical symbol that correctly completes the equation. You've probably played games similar to this in one or more of the various brain-training games that have become so popular.

OK, now that your brain is warmed up, let's try some math with a little more real-world feel. Try FunBrain's Change Maker, in which a purchase is described with the item cost and the amount given to you, and you have to figure out the correct change in your head! You can play the game in American, Canadian, Australian or Mexican dollars, as well as British pounds, and choose the range of money problems you'll be dealing with. I'm sure we've all been in situations where, were this game used in training cashiers, there would have been much less hassle.

Get ready, because we're moving from basic mathematical operations into algebra, with Algebraic Reasoning. Too often, algebra is presented in dry terms like 3p + 2d = 35 and 4p = 36, which can make the task seem mind-numbingly dull and much harder than it really is.

In the Algebraic Reasoning game, it's presented as a task using several scales, and various items in a toy store. For example, you might be shown one scale with 4 presents that reads “36”, and another scale that contains 3 presents and 2 drums that reads “35”, with your task being to find the value of 1 drum. Once you work out that the value of each present is “9” (36/4=9), you can then see that the 3 presents on the second scale must account for 27 of the 35 read on the second scale, and that the 2 drums must have a value of “8”. 8 divided by 2 is 4, so each drum must have a value of “4”! Even though the dry equations I mentioned earlier are exactly the same as the ones described with the scales and toy store items, the latter gets the understanding across quicker.

As you may know from my posts on visualizing math, visualizing Pi and visualizing scale, I'm a big fan of anything that can foster understanding quickly and effectively.

We'll conclude with geometry, but without any direct work with numbers. Instead, the Eyeballing Game challenges you to estimate the answers to various geometric tasks using only your eyes! The challenges include adjusting a graphic to make a parallelogram, find the mid-point of a line segment, bisecting an angle, marking a point inside a triangle that is equidistant from each of the triangle's edges, finding the center of a circle, drawing a right angle, and finding the point where three straight lines will meet.

Each task is scored by how close you were in “units”, with a lower score (fewer units off) being better. You perform each task 3 times, and your overall score is the average score of all 21 attempts. The last 10 best recorded scores of the last 500 games are constantly displayed, so you can see how well you measure up to the best players.

Do you have any favorite online mathematical games? Let me know about them in the comments!

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