In one of my earlier blog posts, I ventured into my complicated history with mathematics. I have lately felt propelled to research ways to make mathematics pleasurable and interesting for young learners. I am convinced that the gamification of learning will soon take over the education sector and hoped to find something contemporary that would have my students raring to dive deeper into mathematics.
I came across ‘Prodigy,’ which promised to make math engaging for children. I concluded that I would use this platform to see if I could engage my math class. The website clearly stated that the game was free for educators and students and looked more promising as I began exploring.
Once the teacher creates a free account, they would need to ‘create a classroom.’ To do this, you need to give your class a title and add the students’ names. The site will generate a PDF of student login ids and passwords, which the teacher can hand over individually. Since I was working online, I did this through the class notebook in Teams. Once done, you can begin exploring the dashboard on your left.
Creating an assessment establishes that your students will be covering the same skills taught in the classroom. You will be given several options on how to proceed with setting an assessment. I prefer to set assignments within a certain skill set to gain valuable practice when they play Prodigy after I have introduced a topic in class.
The concepts that facilitators can select in Prodigy are vast and based on the curriculum of the country. For example, as I teach third grade, all concepts, from patterns to word problems, show up as an assessment option. You can select up to three concepts and then move on to the timeline over which this assessment will occur. You can choose a start and end date for the assessment. I prefer to create assessments that are two weeks long at a maximum, as I have found that students tend to whiz through the game once they get the hang of it.
The students can now begin interacting with the world of Prodigy. They can customize their character’s physical appearance, name them, and much more. The plot follows a young wizard joining magic school when things begin to go awry. The learners must engage in wizarding battles to move forward with the quests, and these skirmishes involve solving math problems. The world of Prodigy is engaging with plenty of depth to the narrative. You will soon find students discussing how many magical pets they have amassed and whether they have completed random quests strewn through the plotlines of Prodigy.
You can check on your class’s and individual student progress at any given time through the results tab on your dashboard. This is an insightful tool as you can clearly see which students are struggling with the current concepts.
This tech tool has found a permanent place in my classroom as the students continue to enjoy Prodigy. Fast finishers in math class are given the leftover time to engage in this game, which gives them the feeling of playing, whereas they are actually learning and honing their thinking skills! My third graders continue to be passionate about Prodigy, so I decided to test whether my son in kindergarten would have the same fervor for the game. I set up a classroom with just his name and assigned tasks according to his grade. I was amazed to see that he jumped into the game and managed the interface with ease. He could understand the quest directives fairly well and enjoyed the wizarding element of the app. When it came to solving the math puzzles, he quickly learned to press the speaker button to have the AI read the question to him as he could not read the full sentence in every situation. This granted him independence from running to me asking for guidance, and he was able to play on Prodigy and sharpen his math skills with ease. This tool has stoked my student’s imagination and has fuelled them to practice math daily.
I originally discovered this game through Coursera’s guided project network, which was included in my annual subscription. To find out more about whether a Coursera annual subscription is worth it, please visit the blog post below-