By Samantha Holden

5 tips for a successful game-based learning lesson!

Mangahigh provides an excellent base in which to personalise the learning needs of each student. Tasks can be set individually to students who may need differentiated work easily, and with a quick click of the button. Something all of us want. The use of the different difficulty levels of the curriculum means that although there is a competitive element to it, which really suits some of the less able students, those who require stretching in the most able category can be. The key features that enable this are a curriculum that stretches from KS1 all the way to GCSE (national UK exams for secondary school). The question styles vary but all are very complimentary to the new GCSE style questions which require you to read long questions and answer multiple choice. My students are not a fan of the questions getting harder as they complete more, however as a teacher I am ecstatic about this. Not only does it ensure students cannot just take the easy option, it shows progress and can lead to some excellent motivational talks when students have completed the work. The ability to go back to those they got wrong and talk them over with the teacher is also a good learning tool both for them and for other students.

Mangahigh is only used in KS3 at Campion and the majority of students that are set work for either home or class study highly engage with it. I run competitions with my students to see who can get Bronze/Silver or Gold medals and award a house point accordingly. My students love the leaderboard on each task and get very competitive. Even the least able students in my class love seeing their name at the top of their tasks and quite often when they lose this top spot they are eager to have another go to regain their place. This leads to the students engaging in their learning, taking independent steps to improve themselves and also gives them a huge sense of achievement. For some of my students who truly believe that they are no good at maths this provides a huge character boost which has then had an impact on their future learning.

My 5 tips to running lesson:

  • Use classroom mode – this limits student access to only what you have set and ensures they are kept on task.
  • Start small – Try a small chunk of your lesson on Mangahigh first, and then build up the time spent. Eventually you will get to the point where it becomes second nature to them.
  • Stagger the levels of work – having an easy, middle and hard task provides challenge and support as needed and you can quietly dictate to students where to start; for some, starting with one they can access independently can reduce behaviour issues later in the lesson as you have a positive point to refer back to.
  • Do not get disheartened after the first try. It has taken training of classes to get to a point where I am doing less work and they are doing more, if the first time you try goes badly then rethink and replan and have another go.
  • Do not have every task on a timer – for some students the pressure of this timer can undo all the hard work both you and they have put into getting their engagement levels up. Check the task and be realistic about if they can do this against the clock – remember we work much faster than them, we have years of experience behind us.

I have been a teacher for 9 years now and this is the most interactive and influential maths website I have come across which engages students but also allows the teacher to have control over their work and progression.

Words by Samantha Holden, teacher of Maths at Campion School.

By Samantha Holden