Sorry… I was remiss in my postings last week! The beginning of the semester just sucked the energy right out of me.

I ran across this nice website last week called “Maths Online” (the authors are Austrian). Although a lot of the applets they provide are pretty simple (read: not flashy, but quite good), the concept of game-oriented learning is powerful. The human mind naturally likes to solve puzzles, improve ability, and play “matching” games (this is how our schemata, the ideas we form in our heads, become more flexible).

I particularly like these “Recognize Graphs” games (see below). These are excellent for helping students recognize characteristics of graphs without pulling out their calculator and graphing every function. Just work out enough information about the given function to rule out some of the graphs and narrow down your choice to one graph. Students can play over and over as there are around a hundred graphs in the database. I think this game could be improved by adding a timer… thus encouraging students to “beat” their own best time.

The games run with Java (so you may have to download that plug-in if you do not have it). I found that I had to “right-click” on the red buttons to get the game to show up on my screen. For my online class, I’m having them submit a screenshot of a completed game for 1 participation point (they need 30 points per chapter). If there was a timer on the game, I’d have them aim for a particular time and then submit the screenshot for 2 points.

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