In this video adapted from Maryland Public Television, learn about an immersive digital game that develops the mathematical thinking skills used in pre-algebra. Created for middle school students, Lure of the Labyrinth presents players with a monster-inhabited world in which they must explore and solve mathematical puzzles to succeed. Find out how this serious game builds student understanding of fractions, proportions, variables and equations, and number and operations.
To learn more about this cybertool and to play the game, visit Lure of the Labyrinth on Thinkport.
Lure of the Labyrinth is an immersive digital game in which players use mathematical thinking skills to progress through a graphic-novel story. The sections of the game correspond to typical pre-algebra curricula: fractions, proportions, ratios, variables and equations, and number and operations. Within each section, there are puzzles at multiple levels that the students must solve as they move forward in the game. Lure of the Labyrinth can be played as a game, or the puzzles can be used as standalone activities.
Students become engaged in Lure of the Labyrinth, developing mathematical proficiencies as they play. As a cyberlearning tool, this serious game allows students to think creatively and learn at their own pace. Along the way, they practice skills that allow them to become efficient problem solvers by making mistakes, learning from them, and persevering. In addition, they have opportunities to interact with other students to discuss strategies, while also practicing communication skills.
Lure of the Labyrinth was developed to integrate seamlessly into the classroom. The game works best when it can become a basic part of math instruction. Rather than treating it as a special resource or reward, Lure of the Labyrinth should be used as another effective learning tool that can help students build pre-algebra skills. It should be woven throughout the school year, using puzzle play to support particular math concepts.
The game can be used to add a new dimension to teaching. For example, when students are playing a puzzle in the game, the educator no longer instructs in a traditional manner but instead becomes the "guide on the side." In this guiding role, rather than presenting problem-solving techniques directly, the teacher asks students questions that help direct efforts and encourage collaboration, in order to build knowledge and strategies. The teacher can then help students understand how the processes used to play the puzzle are related to particular math concepts.
© 2014 PBS & WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.