Rivals, Orbs and Goop: Adventures in Math Games

by Guest Blogger Jenea Willet

Before middle school, I never thought we’d be allowed to play video games in school. But in sixth grade everyone in my class was given the chance to play an online math game called DimensionU. In the beginning, we had almost no information about the game and we thought it was going to be just another computer game. We soon learned that while it helps you learn and practice math, it was way different than other games. We each got to choose our own avatar, what it would look like and what our game name would be. My game name is Daleks_R_Kewl. Once my classmates and I started playing, I found that I had about four people who were my “rivals.” We are always trying to top each other's scores.

In Dimension U, the player collects different colored orbs and then takes them to a node. Once there, they answer a math question for points. The players also have the ability to “goop” others. If a player is gooped, they can either wait for it to wear off, or clean it off by answering another question. The game definitely makes math seem much more fun and everyone can play—even teachers.

A couple weeks ago we started playing against kids from other schools and states in the DimensionU tournament. Now that the tournament has begun, players have gotten on more often and answered more questions, so we are building more math skills and increasing our chances to win some awesome prizes. I am very competitive, so I know that I have more players to compete against (and hopefully beat!). One person from my school, Mountain Gap Middle School, placed in the top twenty for week one of the tournaments. Also, my school was in the top five for the second week of the five-week tournament. Our main goal is to be the top school, but we have a lot of competition. My personal goal is to make it into the top 95%, at least. During the first week, I was in the top 91%, and then in the second week I was in the top 87%.

Being able to play these games has made a huge impact on my math skills. In the tournaments, there are a lot of people that may be either better or worse than I am. Although I may not win, I can still be happy with what place I end up in because I’m learning, but I’m having fun, too.

Jenea Willet is a seventh grade student at Mountain Gap Middle School in Huntsville, Alabama.