Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Mathematics for game
Name of the teacher
Anna Luise
Country where it took place
School typology
Vocational School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
At the beginning of the five school years the first emerging difficulties are about calculus of simple numeric expressions’ values which involve the four operations done in their natural order or modified because of the use of the brackets.
To face this first obstacle I had an idea coming from looking through a book about the difficulty to teach to someone who does not want to learn. So, I experienced the game” four times four” in a first year class. I did it during my last hour lessons in order to make my students reason and understand about the natural precedencies of the arithmetic operations and also the proper way to change the precedencies through the use of the brackets.
The game consists in making two teams whose aim is to create some simple numeric expressions which give as result the value of ten figures using, in each expression, only number four for four times and combining it in the right way through the use of the four operations and/or the use of brackets.
For example 4 – 4 – 4 + 4 = 0
4 – 4 + 4 : 4 = 1
4 : 4 + 4 : 4 = 2
(4 • 4):(4 + 4) =2
(4 + 4 + 4) : 4 =3
And so on….

The idea to face Maths playing, or better the idea to compete with the other part of my class, started a kind of challenge (also inside the team itself) and I realized that also my less motivated students took part to the game in an active way. In fact, they talked about the different combinations which could give the same result and therefore understanding at last the order of the precedencies and the meaning of the brackets.
It was interesting not only the involvement in the game of all the students but also it was relevant how shy students went over the embarrassment to ask about something they could not understand. During the school year these students faced the difficulties with a less defeatist feeling and in some cases they obtained good school results in all the studied topics.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.10.27

Posted by Zuzana Zuštinová (Slovakia)

I really like the experience of the Italian colleague. It is important to get your students´ interest right at the beginning, in the first grade. Use of this "game" will certainly released a tense atmosphere in the classroom where are students who do not like Math and had never achieved good results. Students will find out that it does not have to be difficult at all. Teaching in groups will help the weaker students to ask their colleagues what they would never ask the teacher. This experience will certainly help to motivate pupils. I always try to assign simple tasks to freshmen at the beginning of the school year, thus even the weakest students have the opportunity to get good mark; what they usually had not experienced at elementary school. I always try to ask the questions to which students know the answers. It is easy to prove that pupils do not know something, I want to avoid that. I want them to think and cooperate with me.

Date: 2014.10.16

Posted by Zuzana Zuštinová (Slovensko)

Skúsenosť kolegyne z Talianska sa mi veľmi páči. Je dôležité získať si žiakov hneď v prvom ročníku. Použitie tejto „hry“ určite uvoľní napätú atmosféru v triede, kde sú žiaci, ktorí nemajú radi matematiku a nikdy nedosiahli dobré výsledky. Žiaci prídu na to, že to nemusí byť vôbec ťažké. Skupinové vyučovanie pomôže slabším žiakom, aby sa pýtali ostatných spolužiakov to, čo by sa učiteľa nikdy nespýtali.
Táto skúsenosť určite pomôže motivovať žiakov.
Ja prvákom zadávam na začiatku školského roka jednoduché úlohy, aby aj tí najslabší mali možnosť dosť jednotku, ktorú na základnej škole z matematiky nikdy nedostali. Vždy hľadám otázky na ktoré žiaci vedia odpovedať. Dokázať žiakom, že niečo nevedia je jednoduché, to nechcem. Chcem, aby rozmýšľali a spolupracovali so mnou.

Date: 2014.10.16

Posted by Marieta Andreeva (Bulgaria)

I find this approach very interesting for students. I even have done something similar in my practice.
1 1 1 = 1
2 2 2 = 2
3 3 3 = 3
4 4 4 = 4
5 5 5 = 5
6 6 6 = 6 and so on
Students must put the signs: + - : * (), square root too,so that they form the equations.

Date: 2014.10.13

Posted by Veronica Del Bene (Italy)

I believe that this experience is really interesting as well as relevant. It focuses on a difficulty that also my first year classes frequently encounter. I refer to the difficulty of interpreting the meaning of the brackets and recognizing the order of operations within a numeric expression.
The suggested game "four times four" is a simple but very effective tool to avoid this common error in mathematics. Furthermore the experience described shows that playful and competitive learning environments can motivate children to learn and to work hard in school.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.