As custom has it, we are always excited to have older students work with younger ones to impart knowledge that can only be gained with age and experience. Mrs. Sarah Imler, second grade math teacher, recently flipped this idea on its head by having her little students teach the big students.
Mrs. Imler’s students are learning math through gamification. Gamification is basically using the motivational parts of games, such as points, rewards, and ranking, in a non-game situation. It is all about increasing engagement and motivating students to learn. She introduced the web based math game Prodigy to her second graders and it was a hit. Prodigy is a role playing game that gamifies the many math skills needed to be successful in first through eighth grade - and the magic word is free! Students are motivated to practice math skills on their levels. Teachers are provided with real-time reporting along with built in formative, diagnostic and summative assessment. Teachers will also appreciate the personalized approach in which Prodigy evaluates students to begin closing gaps in understanding and move them toward deeper understanding. If students are working on specific skills during class, teachers can also choose to assign those skills to reinforce the teaching.
Mrs. Imler loved the way her students interacted with the game based program and wanted to share with other classrooms. Mrs. Griffin invited the second graders to teach her fifth graders how to get started with Prodigy. The second grade students helped the older students set up accounts, work through problem solving, and set out on quests on Prodigy Island. Prodigies answered questions and battled monsters along with the help of their pets. The littles not only shared their knowledge with the bigs, but proved that it isn’t necessary to know it all - just be willing to share your experience and excitement.
Dana Lane is a Technology Coordinator, and Kristy Graham is an Instructional Technology Specialist - both at Rivercrest School District. They are passionate about technology and learning and enjoy sharing this passion with teachers and students.