The Role of Games in Everyday Mathematics
Everyday Mathematics uses games as an engaging way for students to get the frequent practice required to build strong
mental arithmetic skills and
fact power. Games are used as a way to augment, not replace,
activities that focus on rote practice of specific skills and facts, such the Mental Math and Reflexes
exercises that begin every Everyday Mathematics lesson.
Games vs. Drills
Drills aim primarily at building fact recall and procedural skills. Practice through games shares these objectives, but also reinforces other skills and understandings, including:
- calculator skills
- money exchange and shopping skills
- logic and reasoning
- geometric intuition
- intuition about probability and chance
Drills and games should not be viewed as competitors for class time, nor should games be thought of as time-fillers or rewards. In fact, games satisfy many standard drill objectives — and with many built-in options. Drill tends to become tedious and, therefore, gradually loses its effectiveness. Games relieve the tedium because children enjoy them. Indeed, children often want to play Everyday Mathematics games during their free time, including during lunch and recess.
Everyday Mathematics games offer an almost unlimited source of problem material. And because the numbers in most games are generated randomly, the games can be played over and over without repeating the same problems. Many of the Everyday Mathematics games come with variations that allow players to progress from easy to more challenging versions.