Wordle has gone viral, and such games are proving useful in the classroom as teachers leverage their popularity for student engagement

How teachers use Wordle–and other games–for next-level engagement

Wordle has gone viral, and such games are proving useful in the classroom as teachers leverage their popularity for student engagement

Teachers are getting creative, too–putting students in pairs if devices are limited, laminating large pieces of paper with six rows of five empty squares and using colored dry-erase markers to record classroom guesses, and more.

If you’ve heard of Wordle, you’ve likely heard of nerdle. Nerdle relies on the same color-coded square concept as Wordle, but nerdle players are trying to guess a mathematical calculation.

Created by Richard Mann and his children, more than 1 million people were playing the game within three weeks of its launch, and 70 percent of players are in the U.S.

Many of those users are teachers who are using nerdle in classrooms as morning warm-ups or ways to reinforce newly-taught concepts. As a bonus, the game has great potential to increase student engagement in harder-to-teach classes.

“We have nerdle fever! We now can’t go a day without a nerdle,” said Cyndi Stevens, a grade school mathematics teacher in Reading, PA. “We love collaborating with others, stretching our brains, and sharpening our number sense and problem solving skills. These 4th grade mathematicians are showing positive mathitudes! Our marvelous mathematicians used nerdle to challenge ourselves during Morning Meeting. They did an amazing job…solved the math puzzle on 3rd try!”

“Watching nerdle’s amazing viral growth in the weeks after we launched it back in January was amazing… But as well as the excitement with the sheer number of players, we quickly heard that some teachers had started using nerdle in math lessons. That’s when we realized we could really do something positive with our little game,” Mann said. “Early on, we had some teachers saying, ‘Love the game, but we think we could have some younger kids playing it at school if you could make it a little bit easier,’ which is why we launched both mini nerdle, the first variant, and pro nerdle, where anyone can create their own nerdle challenge.”

Hearing from teachers like Stevens shows Mann that what he and his children created really has an impact.

“But the real highlight of my week? A teacher posting a photo or video showing the whole class playing a game of nerdle, with a big screen up at the front and the whole class cheering when they manage to solve the daily nerdle challenge.”

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Laura Ascione

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