Learn math the easy way
Back to school is right around the corner, meaning... math. Which is a shame, because math is hard. For so many students, learning math through the traditional methods can be extremely difficult. They might not understand the concepts the way that they are presented or maybe they just learn better through repetition and interaction.
However it is that they learn, games can be vital in helping to education by giving students new ways to interact with the subject material. Here are ten games that we think do it well.
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (Nintendo DS)
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day is the basis for most of the exercise your brain games. It provides an measurable metric of learning to follow as you progress through different mini-games, calculating your ever-changing Brain Age based on the results. There are dozens of different games that will test your cognitive abilities, like quick math equations and being able to discern between the color thats written and the color that the word is actually written in. Theyre all short and simple, making it great for short bursts of play at some point throughout the day, even if it is more about learning than fun.
Body and Brain Connection (Xbox 360 Kinect)
Body and Brain Connection for Kinect is rather simple, but still fun. It doesnt focus on complex math equations, but offers simple games that challenge different aspects of math and learning instead. These are all very basic, but that suits a multiplayer or family environment quite well. It steals almost everything from Brain Age, but the inclusion of the Kinect gives it an additional boost as it exercises both your body and brain when answering questions. The active nature of the title is great for getting the blood pumping and players focusing more on the answers they are submitting, rather than just clicking on a random answer to progress.
The Mad Math Games (Free online games)
There isn't a math game out there thats simpler than Mad Math games. The Mad Math series of flash games are minimal games that focus on basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It presents a problem with a blank box below for you to put an answer in. Depending on the validity of your answer, it will simply tell you if you got it right or wrong and move on to the next question. There isn't much to it, but its a good tool for testing your basic skills while enjoying an animated picture of a mad scientist.
Sail Through Math (iOS)
Sail Through Math is one of the more interactive math games out there. The problems are simple, even at the highest level, but the gameplay is still engaging and fast-paced. It requires more attention than the average study tool, but it also provides the most feedback. At the end of each minigame, youre shown the problems that you got wrong so that you are able to fix them the next time. It might be simple, but its extremely fun for a math game, even if you aren't necessarily looking for a learning app, this serves its purpose well as a game regardless.
Math vs Zombies (iOS)
Turns out we cant escape the zombie apocalypse, even while trying to learn a bit of math. Math vs Zombies takes the premise of the popular Popcap title (Plants vs. Zombies) and turns it into a first-person shooter that requires the player to solve simple math problems to kill zombies. The equations are all relatively simple and easy to figure out. Its clearly aimed at younger kids learning math for the first time, rather than those looking for a little more help. Kids need to learn math somehow, and Math vs Zombies manages to make learning fun, even if that feeling wont stick around for long.
Math Soccer (iOS)
Math Soccer is extremely simple. All you have to do is swipe the ball into the goal with the correct answer on it. Thats it. It doesnt take itself too seriously, either--the graphics are crude and filled with penguins, so it's fun for both those wanting to learn math and penguin fanatics. Despite its simplicity, it still manages to be fun and challenging, tasking players with scoring as many goals (via correct answers) as they can in a limited amount of time. The equations are aimed toward children and there aren't very many of them, so dont expect to get into any high level stuff; its extremely basic and works well that way.
Shepard Software (Free online game)
Shepard Software's website has dozens of games all ready to challenge you with everything from basic math to algebra and integers. It isn't just one style of game either, theres dozens of different games for each section, including one that requires you to shoot the fruit with the right answer on it and another thats the same but with balloons. Most of the games manage to be pretty fun, mixing learning and interactivity well. They are all pretty short, but theres a large variety of both games and topics that should keep you occupied for a long time.
Integer Football (Free online game)
Integer Football takes the difficulty of basic math and makes it applicable to children who might learn better when it relates to something they enjoy. It uses words like "penalty" and "gain" instead of "add" and "subtract" to make things easier for people who struggle with math terminology. That might sound somewhat silly, but it ends up working well, as it tackles (no pun intended) the challenging blocks that some students face when learning. Youre going to want to mute it though, as the sound effects get old quickly. It doesn't do much in terms of feedback, but its quickly replayable, so its easy to blow through a few rounds back to back.
Deep Dive (Free online game)
Deep Dive is extremely simple, but the cute art style is enough to make it worth while for younger children. Youll need to choose which family of equations youll want to learn from and then select the right answer to "snap a photo." The premise is silly, but it isn't distracting enough to detract from the quality early learning experience. Deep Dive is clearly aimed at those just starting to learn math and doesn't advance beyond that, so if you've learned how to add past twenty, Deep Dive is already too easy for you.
Frog Fractions (Free online game)
Frog Fractions deals with basic fractions and typing skills as you capture flies in your frog mouth to keep them from spoiling your fruit. Its mostly point-and-click, but theres some sections that require you to type the answer in, requiring a bit more focus. Its good for those who want to learn basic fractions, but it's also fun enough for anyone looking for a quick, fun game. In fact, it's easily one of the most deceptively crazy games ever created--we dont want to spoil it, because the moment that you discover what the game is actually about is one that youll remember forever.
Math is an integral (pun intended) part of education and games are getting better at helping to teach it. These were ten games that we thought did a good job, but were sure there are others out there. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!