26 Sep

# NumbaLand

Who doesn’t like some quick to play, fun games?  I know that many of my students do and I am sure yours do too.  If you’re looking for something to try as a warm-up or a cool-down activity, or would like to spark a little friendly competition in your younger math students, you might want to consider sending them to NumbaLand.

This site is a one-stop shop for 5 different arithmetic centered games.  What’s nice about this site, as opposed to say, BrainPop, is that you can have the students focus on specific skills, which I will explain in a moment, and it limits their choices in the games they can play to hone those skills.  Other gaming sites address the same things, true, but I find them to be overwhelming, especially with the younger students who get caught up in trying all the games, but never really practicing the skills they are meant to help.

The five games in NumbaLand focus primarily on estimation and counting skills and therefore are geared more towards mid to upper elementary students or those higher-grade students who are still struggling with basic math skills.  Each game takes the basic estimation and judging concept and presents them in 5 unique ways that keep the games fun, and also offer a secondary subset of skills to practice.

So what are these games?

1.  Timeline Battleship – Here students need to estimate a value on the timeline to successfully drop missiles on a ship, and sink it, ala “You sunk my Battleship”.  The great thing about this game is that it offers several modes, so students can practice fractions, decimals, integers, negatives, and more!  It’s a very versatile and easy to understand way to teach the differences in these numbers.

2.  Angle Asteroids – Similar to the old Atari games, but instead of aimlessly flying around a screen blasting pesky rocks, students are in control of a ship in the center of a circle.  They can choose one of two modes for play, polar coordinates (degrees) or time (minutes).  The asteroids will appear and slowly fall to the center, and the students need to estimate the angle at which to fire their laser to destroy the asteroid before it gets them.  The challenge is that as the students get better at their estimations, the faster the asteroids appear and fall.

3.  Block Basher – Similar to most “match 3” games out there, this one has students estimate where on a number line to drop a colored block to match it with a like color already present in the row below.  The number line spans 0 – 100 and students can enter any number in between to drop their block.  The additional challenge of a timer helps keep the game moving.

4.  Jellybeans – Students are asked to estimate the number of jellybeans in a jar.  This can be played in a speed mode for counting smaller numbers, a group count for large number estimation,  a row count for a different look at the larger numbers, or “estimate me” with a more random grouping to help students try to visualize large numbers.

5. Trainspotting – I love this one for the concentration element!  It is based on a train scrolling across the screen and the students need to count the number of cars that go by.  It can be played in a normal mode for straight counting, skip mode where cars are grouped with, for example, every 4th or 5th car being blue, count red mode where students are only to count the red cars in what is a rainbow of colors, and random where the colors will be mixed as well as the counting instructions.

Potential use in the classroom:  As fun activities during bonus time, or as a warm-up exercise for math class.

Recommended grade levels:  3-6 or middle school age struggling with math.