1. Amazing Progress by a Louisiana School District
The school district chose to invest in every student in the district instead of just those who were failing. They installed Amoeba Math on every computer in the computer lab, and for one year let students play the game whenever they completed their regular assignment for the day. They placed an “Amoeba Math Leader Board” on their white board to display the current top scorer in the game. When a student knocked off the leader, the name was replaced with the new leader. It’s amazing what students will do for a little recognition – just look at these results on Louisiana’s NCLB test after one year of applying this strategy.
The histograms on the immediate right show the students performance in 2010 when they were in the 3rd grade and then in 2011 as fourth graders.
The “Histogram Flow” graphic on the far right shows the probable flow of students from their category on the 2010 third grade iLeap test to their category on the 2011 fourth grade LEAP test. Assuming that every 4th grader did at least as well as the previous year, it shows that all students, skilled and unskilled, benefited equally from playing Amoeba Math.
Notice that of the 10% that jumped 2 categories, 6% came from the high end and 4% came from the low end; and in the middle, the entire Approaching Basic cadre moved up at least one category.
The NCLB tests cover a lot more than the math facts. So what is going on? Our experience with many children over the years has convinced us of the following:
Kids that know their math facts are confident in their mathematical abilities and those that don’t, aren’t.
Confident children have minds open to learning and much more likely to pay attention in class. This fits what we were told by the District principals: The 4th grade teachers told them that for once they were finally able to complete their daily lesson plans. The remarkable plasticity of the pre-adolescent brain allowed many of the poorer students to catch up with what they had missed in the 3rd grade.
2. Children Will Actually Play Amoeba Math
It is one thing to show evidence that playing a game will educate, but it is an entirely different thing to show evidence that kids will actually play the game. Here is our evidence.
- We have attended many homeschooling conferences over the past two years. At each, the other vendors’ kids of all ages and abilities lined up at our booth waiting for their turn to play Amoeba Math. Most returned repeatedly, and all made great progress in just two days.
- One 8th grade Louisiana teacher bought a game to try out on her students. They were so enthused by it that she is ordering games for all the computers in her classroom.
- All adults who have played the game find it exciting and fun.