For Educators - Following Up
 
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Puzzle Play

Following Up

So you and (mostly) your students have now spent a good deal of time with Lure of the Labyrinth. What happens next? Well, the first step is to take stock of the experience. That means collecting some data and reflecting on it (since effective teachers are indeed reflective practitioners). After that, you'll take what you've learned and, with the help of some of our resources, apply it in your classroom instruction ... with the end result hopefully being better and more efficient learning by your students.

Let's take a look at how this process might work ...

Data Collection

In addition to the back-end data available through the Administrator Tool on your students' work in Lure of the Labyrinth, there are several other ways that you can learn about their experiences (and their thought processes) during puzzle play:
  • Your students' graphic organizers. If your students used them, these graphic organizers can again give you insights into your kids' thinking and their problem-solving while playing Lure of the Labyrinth.
  • Your informal observations of your students' puzzle play. Any time that you were actually able to watch your students play Lure of the Labyrinth will be invaluable to you in understanding how they worked with the math in the game.
  • Your students' feedback. What better way to find out about your students' experience than by asking them? Ask them whether they think Lure of the Labyrinth helped them improve their math skills. Ask them about what they could and couldn't figure out in the game. Ask them about the strategies they used. Ask them what they learned by playing Lure of the Labyrinth. Ask them ... well, you get the idea!
 "Once teachers buy into the effectiveness of Lure of the Labyrinth, they will begin to use it more creatively." - John-Paul Bennett, Advance Team Teacher 

Reflection

Once you have the data, of course, you'll want to make some sense of it. And here we think it will be helpful to remind you of two of the main purposes of Lure of the Labyrinth:
  • To help prepare your students to learn your pre-algebra curriculum.
  • To give you information that can help inform your teaching of that pre-algebra curriculum.
We've described students' work with Lure of the Labyrinth elsewhere as a kind of "warm up" before the big race. And real-life runners aren't judged by how they warm up - or prepare - for their races; they're judged by how they actually do in the race itself. Keep this in mind when you look at any data you collect on your students' experience with Lure of the Labyrinth. This data won't be the basis for any kind of final assessment of your students. Its ultimate use to you will be to give you an idea of what your students know, what they still need to learn and, maybe most importantly, how they think. Try to focus on how you can use it to help your students succeed in their real race - learning in your classroom when you formally teach them the math content. We believe that, in this way, the data will be an extremely useful resource for you.

Application

Again, as we've said elsewhere, a big part of your role in relation to Lure of the Labyrinth is to act as a "farmer." Your students will only just start to understand the math concepts in Lure of the Labyrinth through their game and puzzle play. Most of them won't be able to apply that beginning learning in any other context besides Lure of the Labyrinth until you - the farmer - help them cultivate it and help it grow in your classroom via your good teaching. To help you get started with that process, we've developed a series of lesson plans, all written by pre-algebra teachers like you and specially designed to work with each of the puzzles in Lure of the Labyrinth. We hope that these lesson plans will be a springboard for your teaching ... with one of the end results being that you'll also start to develop your own ways of building the bridge between your students' learning in Lure of the Labyrinth and their learning in your classroom.

 "Letting the students explore Lure of the Labyrinth without teacher imput was a little difficult for us. As we went through the lesson plan,we could see the students were able to apply the skill of multiplying fractions to the game. And they were anxious to go back and play again now that they had a better understanding." - Courtney Handte and Victoria Borella, Advance Team Teachers 

Reflection

And If Your Students Really Liked Lure of the Labyrinth ...

And finally, if Lure of the Labyrinth inspired your students to want more in the way of math and games, consider having them try the following:
  • Choose a math concept that they have struggled with and design and create a game to teach that concept. Students could trade games with other students, classes or even schools to help others learn the math concept.
  • Create a story that incorporates math concepts, showing how characters must use their math skills to solve a problem or resolve a conflict. (There are lots of great books out there that do this; you can go here to see some examples.)
  • Research and critique other math games to see what skills they teach and how engaging they are.
  • Initiate a game club after school that focuses on playing educational games that students bring in from home, find online and/or run on hand-held devices.
Lesson plans
Student Graphic Organizers

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