At least once a year, per class, I get asked “But when are we actually going to use this?”

Sometimes I’m asked politely with genuine curiosity, and at other times the question is asked from a place of boredom and frustration. Either way, I mostly answer this question in the same way.

Maths trains our brains in ways that no other subject can. In no other subject in school do we get the same opportunity to deal with abstract and spatial concepts using only the power of our minds. Other subjects teach us how to explore and discuss ideas and to learn with concrete objects and contexts. But in maths we get to train our brains to see 3 steps ahead or to twist and manipulate spatial concepts in our minds.

Why not help your kids enjoy the same benefits through these addictive and ultra fun maths games? They’re available to play again and again for free.

2048

 

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If you haven’t seen this game yet then you’re about to swap your addiction to Candy Crush for this new kid on the block.

I catch kids playing this on their computers at school all the time before class starts and teachers are often asking each other what their latest high score was.

So what’s the aim of the game? Basically you slide the tiles left, right, up and down and when two tiles with the same number collide they merge into one new tile of a higher value. The aim is to do this until you get the 2048 tile. Sound easy? Not quite!

It’s mathematical for two reasons. The first is the fact that the numbers on the tiles are powers of 2: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 …

Secondly the sliding of the tiles requires spatial reasoning, seeing multiple moves ahead and strategising. Great brain training skills.

Game About Squares

 

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My husband introduced this one to me yesterday and he’s already addicted. The aim of Game About Squares is to cover the dots with their corresponding coloured square. You can only slide the squares in the direction of the arrow indicated on each square.

Once again, this sounds pretty easy and the first few steps are. But soon enough you have to come up with strategies and slide around squares in your mind to plan out your moves.

The burgeoning careers of the future will be all about technology. The technology we know and love today has programming languages based on the language and rules of mathematics.

Foster a love and aptitude for spatial reasoning in your kids and they might just be set on a path to a career they’ll love and succeed in.

Photo credit: Vivian Viola / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)