Nowadays, many educators prefer using online math games in the classroom to polish their students’ understanding of specific mathematical concepts. Students often lose interest in topics they have difficulty comprehending. Games can help revive the lost interest and allow them to explore and work on their math skills. Although you may find games on most math topics, they can be more beneficial in teaching and practicing abstract mathematical concepts like algebra.
Games involving algebra tiles help students develop a correlation between the math concept and their visual representation. As games involve a challenge, students are motivated to work on them rather than using the typical paper and pencil approach.
In this write-up, you’ll find some interesting and challenging games using algebra tiles that students can play at home or school to enhance their understanding of algebraic concepts.
Effective algebra tiles games to master algebraic concepts
1. Memory Game: Algebra Tiles
Here is a memory game involving algebra tiles. It lets students review numerical expressions in the form of algebra tiles. The game begins with a 4 x 4 grid appearing on the screen. Students must click individual sections of the grid to see the tiles and associated numerical expressions. In the process, they must remember the positions and flip open two similar expressions, one after the other, to make them disappear. They must repeat this exercise until all pairs are found. In the next level, students find themselves solving a larger grid with more sections.
2. Math Simulation: Algebra Tiles 1
In this simulation game, students practice how to model integers using algebra tiles. First of all, they must select the type of tile (positive or negative) and its value using the buttons in the top right corner. Then, press the “model” button to see how the value can be represented using algebra tiles along with its decimal sum, which is displayed at the bottom. The game allows students to model only one integer at a time. They must reset it before modeling another integer. For this, students can press the reset button to start over again.
3. Math Simulation: Algebra Tiles 2
This is a similar simulation game as the one above. However, now the students work on modeling algebraic expressions using algebra tiles. There are three buttons in the top right corner for selecting different types of tiles. These include the green X button, the yellow + button, and the red – button. After selecting the tiles, students must click the model button to see the algebraic expression appear on the screen as a unique arrangement of algebra tiles. This game helps students learn how the visual representation of algebraic expressions changes by varying integers and coefficients.
4. Algebra Tiles by The Mathenaeum
Mathenaeum has developed a set of algebra tiles games to cover five algebraic concepts. They are –
- Representation and manipulation of algebraic expressions
- Factorization with algebra tiles
- Solving algebraic equations
- Addition and subtraction of directed numbers
- Multiplication and division of directed numbers
Students must use the palette to drag tiles to the workspace to perform different operations like matching expressions, making zero pairs, factorizing, completing the square, or finding solutions to equations. The game aids in problem-solving and practicing algebra tiles. To make things less confusing for students, the tiles are in typical blue, green, and yellow colors.
5. Factoring Polynomials with Algebra Tiles
Geogebra has this fun yet challenging game wherein students can work on factoring polynomials using algebra tiles. The layout is simple, with tiles on the right side. The game has 20 questions that students can solve one by one or select the one they wish to practice first. The “new” button serves the purpose of changing questions, and clicking the “factor” button shows the factor of the equation. As the game is not time-bound, students can take as much time as they want to find the solution to a problem.
6. Algebra Tiles by NCTM
Here is a colorful game by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). It has four modes that allow students to solve, expand, substitute and factor. The right panel has a collection of algebra tiles and tools like copy, erase, and remove zero pairs for students to use while completing a given problem. The game requires students to follow two steps. The first is modeling the problem using algebra tiles, and the second is solving to find the value of the variable x. The tick mark button allows students to check their answers and move forward.
7. Model Polynomials with Algebra Tiles
This game checks conceptual understanding about using algebra tiles for modeling polynomials. A set of algebra tiles arranged in a particular fashion is presented to students. They must now figure out the algebraic equation that is represented in the given question. When students figure out the answer, they can enter it into the designated space and click submit to check their answer. A scoreboard displays the number of questions answered and their SmartScore. The game also has a timer for students to keep a check on the time taken to solve a problem.
8. Model and Solve Using Algebra Tiles
Here is another game by IXL that covers modeling and solving algebraic equations. Students get to solve problems with different approaches. In some questions, they must write the numerical expression of a given equation. Whereas in others, they must select the correct visual representation of a given algebraic equation. A tiny video link on the top right corner of the workspace explains the basics of algebra tiles in case students need to refresh their concepts. If students need to do a little rough work, there is a pencil and eraser tool at the bottom right for convenience.
9. Model Algebra Equations
Here is an interesting game to practice algebraic equations. Students must model a given equation on a balance. If they model it correctly, the beam is balanced. If not, the balance is tilted on one side to show that the model is incorrect. Students can click on the tick mark to move to the next step. Now, they must isolate the x tile using their understanding to find its numerical value that they can enter using a number pad in the following step. The game also has an option to clear the balance for times when students need to work on a question one more time before arriving at a final answer.
Parents are often concerned about adding games to facilitate the learning process because of increased screen time. However, one must remember that games are just one way of increasing interest in the subject so that students don’t shy away from traditional means of learning which they may find boring due to the monotony of the approach.
Games bring a welcoming change in the classroom, which students can enjoy from time to time. They don’t need hours of gameplay to grasp and sharpen their algebra skills. A short 10 – 15 minutes session a couple of times a week is sufficient to boost their confidence in mathematics and bring a difference in learning.