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Mathematics Video

Teachers, Try This: Gamify Instruction to Reduce Math Anxiety and Improve Test Scores

By Kaylee Domzalski — February 1, 2024 4:31
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“I’m not a math person.”

It’s something this middle school math teacher heard often.

But Gerilyn Williams was determined to change that. So the math teacher at Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., set out to “gamify” her instruction.

She did things like changing the language she uses to mimic gaming—lessons are “quests,” chapters are “levels,” each unit is a themed world, and quizzes are “boss battles” where rematches are allowed. She saw students’ feelings and mindsets about math start to change.

And the results speak for themselves. In the seven years since she began, she’s seen grades go from the standard C bell curve to a class average of a B.

Here, she explains what this looks like in practice and offers tips for teachers looking to try something similar.

See Also

Gerilyn Williams, a middle school math teacher in New Jersey, stands in her classroom.
Gerilyn Williams, a middle school math teacher in New Jersey, says students now look forward to math class as a result of the gamification of her instruction.
Photo courtesy of Gerilyn Williams

Kaylee Domzalski is a video producer for Education Week, telling meaningful stories that impact the field.

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