Jungle jeopardy

4th January 2008 at 00:00
Make maths more interesting with ghosts, ghouls, swamps and a little help from technology, says Ben Trevail.

Primary

PowerPoint has become synonymous with all things corporate and uncreative but, for our maths week, we decided to turn this around and use it in a surprising way.

Two of our teachers at Mayfield Primary School in Hanwell, west London, responded to a freeing-up of curriculum time to come up with interactive adventures, where players navigated their way through a series of mathematical questions linked to each theme.

Year 3, overseen by Natasha Zikic, their teacher, turned the school into "Haunted Mayfield". Pupils established the scary setting and created tension with vivid descriptive writing: "My heartbeat began to race. The shadow began to approach me like a vulture. I was terrified," wrote one pupil.

In groups, they came up with a series of mathematical questions that increased in difficulty through the adventure.

Then the children took digital photos around the school to illustrate the hauntedness, including a menacing-looking headteacher and "freaky ghost children", superb opportunities for drama. Ghostly sound effects were then recorded of doors creaking and the wind howling.

Meanwhile the Year 4s, guided by Michael Mappin, their teacher, chose jungle scenes as their theme. These were scanned in and suitable jungle-style percussive music was downloaded from the London Grid for Learning's audionetwork archive.

Each class then developed the structure of their adventures, making decisions over where correct or incorrect answers lead the player and creating all the alternative routes through the jungle.

The adventure started in Monkey Village, where explorers faced questions about money in the local cafe. Then the action moved to the swamp via a broken bridge, where a wrong answer meant they were captured by cannibals.

They then swung through the Valley of Vines, calculating distances travelled, before finally facing the toughest maths tasks in the Temple of Doom. These projects were great for fostering teamwork, collaboration, decision-making and problem-solving, not to mention being fun.

View the adventures at www.lgfl.netlgflleasealingschoolsmayfieldaccountsictgalleryhome[QQ]Ben Trevail is ICT co-ordinator at Mayfield Primary School in Hanwell, west London.

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