Abstract Details

Once Upon A Maths: Situated Learning Game For Mathematics Education

This abstract describes “Once Upon of Maths”, a point-and-click adventure game developed for Mathematics education. The game follows the design principles of the situated learning environments, focusing on the development of activities that show how knowledge can solve real-life problems. In our game, this is achieved through a narrative based on the history of Mathematics. When used as a teaching tool, Maths history allows kids to experience the fact that Mathematics is in constant development, and that they are part of this evolution. Once Upon a Maths is an interactive story about a protagonist character (the player) that wants to become a master explorer of Mathematics. To do that, the player has to use Maths knowledge to solve problems from different times in the human history. Storytelling and exploration are essential elements of this type of game, and it involves a lot of puzzle solving and conceptual challenges. The game is divided in phases. In each one, the player meets a character that tells how Mathematics was used on his/her time to overcome daily life problems. Then, the character invites the player to solve a challenge using the concepts learned. For instance, the player can visit Nebamun, a sculptor from the Ancient Egyptian, and learn how his people used parts of the human body as units of measurement. Later, Nebamun invites the player to use the Ancient Egyptian measurement system and check the height of a number of decorative vases. After measuring the vases and registering the results, the player is invited to order the vases by size. If the player succeeds, Nebamun promises to give one of the vases as a reward, besides an amount of coins. Both vase and coins can be used by the player in future game activities. Both problem and solution are integrated to the narrative provided by the character, and the student must reflect about it instead of delivering a memorized answer. The novelty of Once Upon of Maths is to show the player that mathematics concepts are used to solve everyday life problems since Ancient societies. This strategy is an attempt to overcome the massive amount of drill and practice videogames that leads the player to memorize Maths content without reflecting about them. The game development is based on stakeholders needs emerged from our previous researches, besides situated learning guidelines suggested in the literature. Once Upon of Maths is a web-based game, designed using tools such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL. The prototype of the game involves 12 activities and we estimate it takes around 60 minutes to play the whole game. Students at the end of primary school (11-12 years old) are the target audience of this game. The game is single player but we plan to implement a collaborative playing system in the future. A gameplay video can be accessed through the following link: http://bit.ly/onceuponamaths

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