Video Games—Helping Students Develop Their Mathematical Skills

Matthew C. Winner, a teacher and co-author of the book Teach Math with the Wii,” shared that “in grade school we’re always trying to relate math to the real world. Some kids have been good at video games their whole lives and never realized they were doing math the whole time.” To meet the goals of K-12, schools are already adopting game-based teaching strategies to better engage students and teach Math effectively. With gaming tools like the Nintendo Wii and even smart devices, it’s now easier for them to relate mathematical concepts with real things.

Now, it’s really common to see students glued to handheld gaming devices or console controllers inside the classroom. If you check out the specs of the recently-released iPhone 5C on, you’ll see that it was built for gaming. In fact, Bill Gates, billionaire-philanthropist and founder of Microsoft, revealed in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “imagine if kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed, because it was so enjoyable.” Today’s technology is actually helping math-phobic students overcome their fear of math and improve their skills. » Read more

Dodgem Cars: A Pretty Interesting Abstract Game

It’s a rainy holiday morning where I am and while browsing at a math forum, I came across with a pretty clever game called Dodgem. The game is really simple, but it has some interesting properties. After a couple internet search, I found out that the game was credited to Colin Vout and described the book in Winning Ways by Berlekamp, Conway and Guy. The book according to a discussion thread is the manual of the game and contains mathematical analysis about it.  Here is how the game works.

Two players are seated crosswise and play on a 3 x 3 grid.  Each player has two cars. The objective of each player is to move all the cars off the far end of the board while blocking the opponent’s cars.  The cars may only be moved forward and sideward (in respect to the player) and not backward. The cars may also not be moved to occupied grids. They may leave the board with only a forward move. The winner is the player who first has no legal move on his turn because either all his cars are off the board or blocked by the opponent’s cars. » Read more

Aristotle’s Theory on the Mathematics of Rainbows

Rainbows are one of the most beautiful things that we see in the sky during the day. They are the circular arcs formed by the Sun’s rays and water droplets in the Earth’s atmosphere. For thousands of years, mathematicians and scientists wondered about its mystery. Is there a mathematical explanation why rainbows appear as they do?

The video below shows a  modern analysis of the structure and the mathematics of rainbows. What is surprising is that the modern explanation is very similar to that of Aristotle’s theory who lived about 300 BC. The mathematics involved are parallel lines, circles, and arcs.  » Read more

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