Students in the 21st Century need opportunities to develop a wide variety of executive function skills to prepare for success. Among these are crucial abilities like collaboration, task management, prioritization, and flexible thinking.
While there are a variety of ways to target these skills individually, digital breakouts are an engaging and fun way to tackle them together.
Video games are continuing to grow as a mainstream form of entertainment. Whether it’s tapping away on a smartphone or mashing the buttons on a controller, kids (…and adults) are increasingly turning to interactive entertainment over more passive activities like watching TV or movies.
Along with this rise comes the recurring complaints about the negative impacts video games are having on our society: a lack of social skills, overexposure to violent and mature themes, addictive obsession, general lethargy.
While these arguments certainly hold water in certain contexts, at their root they tend to blame video games for larger underlying issues.
The fact of the matter is that video games are not the enemy. In actuality, video games can be the catalyst for meaningful growth and relationship building. When it comes to video games (as with most things in life) moderation and personal accountability are key.
Video games are at the center of the gamification of education. While this movement to make learning more engrossing and engaging for a new generation focuses on changes away from the screen, video games remain a fun way to help build understanding and practice skills. Amazingly, some of the greatest examples can be acquired for under $20 making them affordable additions to the classroom or the home. Here are some of the best video games that make learning fun:
Number-sense and the ability to estimate are skills that students will need in their every-day life. Unfortunately, these skills can be some of the most challenging to teach without practical experiences. One of the best places to cultivate the ability to do quick, mental-math estimation is on a trip to the grocery store. Here is a simple Grocery Store Game you can have your child or student play on their next trip.
The shopper uses estimation skills to select a combination of products that come as close as possible to a target total.
- A shopping list
- A separate shopping basket from the main cart/basket
- calculator (optional)
How to Play…
Learning is most effective when it is both practical and relevant. Teachers and tutors can maximize their students’ real-world math abilities by creating experiences that mimic how math is used in real life. One of my favorite examples of a hands-on, concrete math practice activity is the Tollbooth Game. I still remember playing this Tollbooth Game decades ago when I was in middle school and can recall how effectively it made the concept of carrying out accurate mental math seem meaningful (shout out to Mr. Brennan!).
The tollbooth operator completes a set of transactions with customers focusing on accurate computations, speedy calculations, and maintaining composure.