Giving Compass' Take:
• A teacher in Memphis sheds light on how she uses traditional board games or sports to engage students in learning different math topics. 

• Is education technology needed if teachers are able to creatively engage with their classroom through games? Can edtech tools be a helpful resource to this approach instead of the main curriculum tools?

• Read about the challenges teachers face when trying to engage students using an edtech curriculum. 

In a classroom in Memphis, sixth-graders are hard at work creating their own version of Monopoly, created by Yomyko Clark, in her first year of teaching at Aspire Hanley Middle School.

Dubbed “Mathonopoly,” students are prompted to design a board game that incorporates 15 math problems. After several class periods of strategizing, the students take turns playing each other’s games. Clark says this lesson is one of several game-based math lessons she teaches throughout the year.

She found her way to the classroom through a teacher training program with Aspire Public Schools, the national charter operator that runs Hanley as part of Tennessee’s state-run school district.

This following interview has been condensed and lightly edited.

How does your own education experience impact you as a teacher?
I graduated from East High School, and I had one teacher there who really changed my life. She taught English, and she was so hands-on in her classroom. She showed me how engaging education could be.  And she had this mother’s love. She also wasn’t going to give up on anyone.

What is one of your favorite lessons to teach?
One of my favorite lessons to teach is ratios with percent. I love this lesson because it deals with comparing different quantities.

Most of my students love to throw balled up paper in the trash like they are playing basketball. So, to teach this lesson, I incorporated a paper basketball tournament where students played “basketball” with the trashcan and balled-up paper. What’s makes this lesson work — like the Monopoly game — is that it’s fun. Students are engaged the whole time; they’re cheering on their classmates as they shoot baskets. But they’re also shouting out the ratios we calculate. They’re learning, and they don’t even know it.

Read the full article about helping students engage by Caroline Bauman at Chalkbeat