March 7, 2013

Math Ninja Rescue

Joshua has been working on his multiplication facts.  He knew them, sort of, but hated drilling them and especially hated trying to do timed tests to get faster at them.  To help him improve his speed (and his attitude) we played this game we call "Math Ninja Rescue."

This is a variation of the magic sight word fortress I had done earlier with Christopher.  As in that game, we built a fortress out of magna tiles and laid out the flash cards leading up to the prison where some toys were being held captive.  But unlike Christopher's version, I used a timer.  Joshua had a little lego ninja whom he was using to make his way through the fortress to rescue the prisoners.  If Joshua was not able to reach the toys in the prison before the timer went off, I smashed the tower down and the toys all died. The poor Ninja just couldn't reach them in time.

setting up the bad guys on top of the prison

Before we started, I had him read through the flashcards running a stopwatch to see how long it took him.  It took 27 seconds.  I told him I would set the timer for 25 to see if he could get a couple of seconds faster.  The first time we played, he did not get any faster, and when the timer went off I roared and knocked down the tower very dramatically.  He screamed.  I think I surprised him. But then he laughed, so it was all good.

racing through the fortress of flash cards

We kept playing.  When he would reach one goal, I would lower the time more and he would try again.  After playing during schooltime for a few of days he was able to say the flashcards in 9 seconds.  It was a great way to improve his speed with his multiplication tables.

Nathan sometimes wanted to help me smash the tower.
Here he's pretending to be a lion in a cave and he comes
out to smash the tower when the timer goes off. 
Some days he couldn't handle the anxiety of me smashing his tower, and so we came up with another game to help improve his speed which I called "Snatch it!." (click to see that game.) Actually, I didn't really call it anything, but I had to call it something to put it on the blog, and that seems like an appropriate title.  You, of course, can call it whatever you want.

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