MIND Research launches K-12 math game-a-thon

Challenge encourages game-based learning to help kids learn to have fun with math

If they build it, they will learn from it. That’s the idea behind the national K-12 Game-a-thon, which invites students to let their imaginations and problem solving run wild as they design, build and share their own math games. Sponsored by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute, the third annual competition is open for entries now through July 1, 2016.

The Game-a-thon challenges students to invent a card game, board game, app, outdoor game, or any other game that addresses a mathematical topic ranging from counting to irrational numbers or measurement to modeling.

A growing body of research shows that mathematical experiences outside the classroom can have a significant impact on math achievement in school. In recent years, teachers have used the Game-a-thon to get struggling students excited about math through gameplay, to introduce advanced students to above-grade-level content, and to allow early finishers to apply what they’ve learned throughout the year

New to the Game-a-thon this year:
• A Game-a-thon starter kit to help spark teams’ creativity and guiding questions to help students design their game and help mentors facilitate the game development. The kit also includes printable templates for inspiration and feedback forms for testing their game with peers.
• A Facebook community to share Game-a-thon ideas and inspiration, and check in on progress with other participants.
• A recorded Google Hangout hosted by STEMconnector, Leveraging Game-based Learning to Increase STEM Engagement, introduces previous Game-a-thon participants, along with insights on game development from parents, teachers and a professional game designer.

“We’re excited to see students, teachers and parents enthusiastically embracing the National K-12 Game-a-thon this year like never before,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of MIND Research Institute. “We had students ready to submit their games even before the entry period opened – and that’s the ultimate success right there. Kids all across the country are already having fun with math.”

How the Game-a-thon works

Teams of students can design and build a math game featuring creative and unusual solutions to mathematical problems. With the help of a teacher or parent coordinator, teams then submit and share the game via YouTube. Teams can invent card games, board games, apps, outdoor games or anything else, as long as it highlights a math concept.

The Game-a-thon is open to submissions now through July 1, 2016. Entries will be evaluated by a team of educators, mathematicians and game designers who develop and facilitate the ST Math software program for one million students across the country. The games will be evaluated based on use of math themes (40 percent), creative game design/material (30 percent), originality (20 percent), and video presentation (10 percent).

Every team member will receive a certificate of participation, a commemorative pin, and an original artwork featuring JiJi, MIND’s penguin mascot. Five winning entries will receive a trophy featuring JiJi, have their videos displayed in the Game-a-thon Hall of Fame, and be recognized at MIND’s national Math Fair.

To learn more about the Game-a-thon, or to download game guidelines go to

MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education social benefit organization, dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

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