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A Teacher's Guide To Coolmath Games

Use this Teacher's Guide to support you as you consider how to integrate Coolmath Games into your current instructional routines and procedures.
Published: June 9, 2019

What is Coolmath Games?

Cool Math Games Logo

Coolmath Games is a brain-training site where logic & thinking meets fun & games. The site has more than a thousand carefully selected and curated games that offer challenging puzzles and playful math practice, and a wholesome environment that combines playing and learning.

How Can You Use It?

Coolmath Games can be incorporated into your existing instructional models and classroom routines. Here are six scenarios where Coolmath Games lends itself to your teaching and learning goals.

Station Rotation

If you use this model, you likely have 3-5 rotations, and students spend 10-20 minutes at each rotation. It is likely that one of your rotations includes incorporating or using technology. Whether students are using a computer or a tablet, they are able to engage with games or apps that support the skills and topics that you are teaching them. Because there is a limited amount of time at each station, Coolmath Games lends itself to a rotation because the games on average take students about 5 minutes.

At Home Practice

If students are practicing the skills and topics that you are teaching in your classroom at home, it is more likely that they will retain and master them. Often homework or teacher recommendations can feel like busy work to students. When you share Math games that your students can play at home, skills practice becomes engaging and fun.

We are providing you with a letter to parents that you can print out, publish on your class website or include it in your weekly newsletter. This letter will outline different Math games that parents can encourage their children to play at home.

Download the Letter

Bell Ringer

It is a longstanding best practice to begin class with a bellringer or activator. When we have a task for students to start on immediately, it is more likely that they will get focused and down to work and you are able to maximize instructional time. If you are teaching in a 1:1 classroom, you can start class with a math game. Students can spend the first five minutes of class playing the game before you begin the instruction. If you use a learning management systems like Google Classroom or Canvas, you can project the name of the game and the instructions for how to access the game and get started before students walk into class. You could also write it out on your whiteboard.

Drill

One of our goals as math teachers is to support students to develop fluency, and the main way that we support students to get there is by drills and fluency practice. This type of practice can frustrate students as it can feel repetitive. Using math games for drills and skill practice makes the experience more fun and engaging. Many of the Coolmath Games lend themselves to drills practice, whether that is addition, subtraction, multiplication or more.

Choice Board

Providing students with choice, voice, and ownership over their learning helps students become more independent learners. If you use choice boards in classroom, you know that one of the biggest challenges is coming up with all the activities and resources to offer your students. Including Coolmath Games as one of your choices provides students with a different modality for engaging with the topic you are teaching or practicing the skill.

Early Finishers

We all have that student or students who finish more quickly than we anticipated and then come to us and ask, “what should I do now?” Veteran teachers know the importance of having multiple options for early finishers, and the importance of making those options meaningful and connected to the topic or skill being taught. Because Coolmath Games is organized by topics, you can direct your early finishers to games that align with what you they are learning or to important 21st Century skills like problem-solving, and maintaining focus.

Find a Playlist That Fits Your Classroom Plans

We have curated games for popular Math and 21st Century skill topics so that you can easily find activities that complement your lesson plans and student level. Check out these Coolmath Games playlists and choose what will help your students most: 

View Coolmath Games Playlists

Benefits of Game-Based Learning

Most teachers understand the increased student engagement that comes with the fun and self-expression games provide.  Educational games can also provide some students with an alternative path into a learning subject that is otherwise challenging or inaccessible.  Scot Osterweil, MIT professor and Creative Director of the MIT Education Arcade, talks about the importance of play and games for learning because of the 4 freedoms of play:

  • The freedom to experiment
  • The freedom to fail
  • The freedom to try on new identities
  • The freedom of effort

Because of that, in addition to subject matter, games help build social-emotional and 21st Century skills like:

  • Problem solving
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Patience, resilience, and perseverance
  • Concentration
  • Learning to fail and try again
  • Creative self-expression

A thoughtful and balanced approach to using learning games in conjunction with your instruction can provide a way to bring some of these benefits to your students.

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