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"The Math Files Game Show"

Web Site Review

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/mathsfile/

 

Hosted by everyone’s favorite ancient mathematicians, Hypatia and Pythagoras, "The Math Files Game Show" is a web site that every math student and teacher should visit. This web site, maintained by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), is filled with math games that students will enjoy and great teacher resources. Students can spin the "Math Games Wheel" to play games online, or they can print out games to play on paper.

Appropriate for students in third grade through eighth grade, "The Math Files Game Show" addresses a variety of math concepts. Students can work with median and mean, decimals, percentages, fractions, probability, rounding, significant figures, and much more. These concepts can be found in both the "Games Wheel" and the "Print-Out" sections. Because this site is maintained by the BBC, all the information is in metric, thus sharpening students’ metric skills. However, all the money activities are in British Pounds, so American students may have difficulty doing these activities.

The teacher section of the web site thoroughly explains all the concepts addressed in the games and print-outs. The concepts are referred to using the National Curriculum Benchmarks of England, but there is an explanation after each benchmark so that teachers can understand which ideas students are learning. The explanations are organized based on the broad concepts which they address, such as algebra or data handling. Also, the games on the game wheel are divided into different categories, such as number and algebra.

In most aspects, this is a very equitable web site. There are both a male and a female host, so boys and girls will feel equally represented. However, both the hosts are white, so students of other cultures do not have someone with whom to identify. Having only two characters that lead students through the games limits the number of races that can be represented. Also, as mentioned above, the games involving money can only be played independently by students in Britain. American students will need instruction in the British currency to play some games, or they may just skip these problem areas. Occasionally, there is a British phrase that an American student may have trouble understanding. But, the majority of the games can be played by all English-speaking students of any country.

This web site would be a great way for students to reinforce math ideas in a fun way. Teachers could limit students to certain games, or they could give students free-exploration time to figure out which games they can play and which they cannot. Also, there are three levels to each game, so students can choose an easy, medium, or hard game. Because of this variety, "The Math Files Game Show" can be used with a variety of grade levels.

The BBC did a great job on this site. Students can learn math concepts while having fun at the same time. Also, there is a great teacher reference section, so teachers can spend time on instruction rather than creating answer keys. "The Math Files Game Show" is a great site that everyone should visit!

 

WORKS CONSULTED

British Broadcasting Company Online. The math files game show.  Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/mathsfile/ [March 18, 2000].

 

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