We have now been using Lure of the Labyrinth for a couple of months as part of our maths curriculum in the 5/6 grade. We have seen improvement in student attendance and engagement. I have strategically placed our Lure of the Labyrinth session on a Monday because we have reading rotations Tuesday-Friday which include Nintendo Wii, PS2 and Nintendo DS Activities. Effectively we have a game-based learning activity occurring every day.
Overall, the grade has shown an improvement in their attitude to mathematics. The students talk about how they “used to hate maths” but now they “love it”. I’m starting to see some of the behaviours used in the game, such as risk taking and self-reflection after making mistakes, occurring in other areas of the curriculum. One example of this happened today during a group collaborative activity where groups are planning and designing a town together. 6 students were discussing nuclear power and Googled the term to collect more information. Upon reading about the earthquake in Japan and it’s effect on the nuclear power station and the people living nearby, they decided to research other options and settled on having wind turbines instead. One student declared that they had learned from a mistake and made a positive change, “just like we do in Lure of the Labyrinth”.
A small group of students worked together to create an assessment rubric for Lure of the Labyrinth. Throughout their discussion I found it really interesting that they felt that the really important factors about using the game were not maths related, but related to team work and thinking. Here is the rubric:
Lure of the Labyrinth has a built-in teacher assessment component, measured against US standards. Each puzzle is linked to a variety of concepts within their curriculum. A colleague very kindly assisted me in developing a VELS matrix to enable me to assess my student using the game. I have posted a screen shot of the first page below. This matrix helps me to use the puzzles with targeted groups of students depending on where they are at in the maths continuum, and I model specific concepts within the game with these groups.
When we first began using Lure of the Labyrinth I printed off all of the graphic organisers and pinned them to our Labyrinth Display for students to access. My grade has not taken to using them – one boy explained to me that he would rather do the working out in his head because it made more sense to him. Other students had taken to randomly clicking on things in the puzzle without thinking about his actions, and some just felt a bit lost within certain puzzles. In response to this, our LOTL session for this week was quite directed, modelling once again the strategies of asking “what do I notice here, what could that number mean, can I link one number to another, is there a pattern, what do we know about the maths here?” etc. I then modelled using the graphic organiser to record not just the target answer, but all possible answers within the West Garden Puzzle (Area and Perimeter). This simple exercise caused a series of “aha!” moments in the grade and helped to clarified the thinking of the majority of students.
Lure of the Labyrinth has not lost it’s appeal for students over the last 2 months, and the grade continues to enjoy exploring and experimenting with their learning in maths.