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Do Math Video Games Really Improve Mathematical Skills?

Math can be a frustrating challenge for some kids. Less so for most adults, generally because age and experience make math easier to comprehend. It’s not always so simple for kids. Each child has a unique learning style. Some children learn to add by counting on their fingers. Others may make up a song to help them with their times tables. The best teachers accommodate all learning styles. However, even when teachers use multiple strategies to teach basic addition and subtraction skills, it's sometimes hard to tell if kids are truly fluent in math facts. Flash forward to video games. They've been around a long time and are a huge hit with kids and teenagers. To many teachers (and parents), video games may seem like a complete waste of time. Because kids love them, they want to spend a lot of time playing--sometimes to the exclusion of other worthwhile activities. Enter game-based learning strategies, aka video-based math games. Educators may wonder if these, too, are a waste of time--or if they actually help kids learn. Current brain research seems to indicate the latter outcome.  A Case Study: Timez Attack Big Brainz is a case in point. Its designer, Ben Harrison, was tired of hearing his young daughter come home each day saying that she was "stupid." As she struggled with math, Ben knew there had to be a better way to give his daughter the math skills she needed to feel confident and successful.
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Teaching outside the box

While learning seems to come naturally to some students, others struggle and need a spark or a jump-start. To make sure all students are engaged in learning, many schools are now turning to unusual ways to reach their students and are experiencing some very positive results! Here are a few examples: Service dogs Service and facility dogs can provide valuable learning opportunities. Specially trained dogs can teach students how to overcome fears, learn patience and perseverance, and listen to and follow directions. Children with special needs especially benefit from working with service dogs when they brush the dog, take it for walks, and play fetch.  These activities help develop gross motor skills and reduce stress. If a child finds social interaction to be a struggle, having a dog as a buddy can be very calming. Having a classroom canine mascot can also spark students' interest in math (measuring out dog food) and writing (using the dog as the subject of a paper). Infants A Canadian non-profit group has an interesting strategy to reduce bullying. How does it work?
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