Research results published by Science Daily in 2016 explained how teenagers who played video games, got better scores at school. However, this contrasted with kids in the same age bracket who spent time on social media, where their school results went down.
“Teenagers who regularly play online video games tend to improve their school results, according to new research. But school students who visit Facebook or chat sites every day are more likely to fall behind in maths, reading and science.”
One of the professors involved with the research explained how video games help with math skills as the games could apply and sharpen existing skills.
He went on to explain that when children play video games, they are challenged to solve puzzles, typically to move onto the next, harder level. This requires children to use general knowledge and maths skills that they might not otherwise be using outside of school.
Another study published in 2015 showed a “dramatic math improvement from playing video games just 10 minutes a day”.
Forbes reported that:
“Third graders played for just 10 minutes per day, 3 days a week, for four weeks. The comparison group’s class received the same materials and the same instruction but didn’t play the game. The result of playing was a staggering 20.5% improvement after just two hours of self-guided play.”
However, there should be a caveat with this study.
The video game that the kids played wasn’t your typical platform game or “shoot ‘em up”. It was Brainquake’s Wuzzit Trouble, which is a learning game designed to improve maths skills.
Still, that shows how educational games can really support a child’s learning. We’ve previously listed some of the best educational video games on the market, and run our own courses for kids interested in learning with tech.
How maths skills can help with video game design
It’s also worth noting how people who go on to have careers in video game design will invariably have a good aptitude for maths. If your child is interested in video games as a career, it’s an option to look at as their maths skills improve.
We previously wrote how maths is one of the most important foundations to building a successful video game. Without this, it would be impossible to create the characters or environments that appear on screen, let alone make them move or interact with the world around them.
In more complex games, this can take the form of handling a gun or other weaponry, programming physics to respond correctly, implementing destructible environments, and coding dynamic weather systems that will change depending on the time of the day or month.
Below is a list of some of the cool things that math can help developers to do in their video games.
- Procedurally generate levels (think No Man’s Sky).
- Script gameplay (events in-game, jumping and walking).
- Animate scenes and characters.
- Program AI to interact with the player.
- Simulate realistic water and grass effects.
FunTech runs video game design courses for kids over the school holidays, and some term-time classes too. All of which can be completed virtually, or at physical camp locations.
In conclusion, video games can make maths more fun for kids and aid their learning.
Whether it’s a deliberately designed educational game, or a mainstream game with problem solving challenges, it could provide incremental differences which all add up to improved mathematical thinking.
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