The 'Pits': A Game to Help Develop Skills and Promote Active Learning: Eula Ewing Monroe and Marvin Nelson Share Their Ideas for Enhancing Basic Computation Skills through Active Participation in a Game They Have Developed. A Highlight of the Game Is the Opportunity for Students to Share Their Computational Strategies by Verbalising Their Thinking

By Monroe, Eula Ewing; Nelson, Marvin | Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

The 'Pits': A Game to Help Develop Skills and Promote Active Learning: Eula Ewing Monroe and Marvin Nelson Share Their Ideas for Enhancing Basic Computation Skills through Active Participation in a Game They Have Developed. A Highlight of the Game Is the Opportunity for Students to Share Their Computational Strategies by Verbalising Their Thinking


Monroe, Eula Ewing, Nelson, Marvin, Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom


Mathematics games have been found to be useful in promoting basic mathematics skills, particularly in addressing the following goals: (a) reviewing basic skills at the beginning of the school year, (b) helping students retain their skills and improve their performance throughout the school year, and (c) assisting students in developing new skills. They are also motivational and promote active learning. This article presents 'Pits', a game to help in developing basic computational skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Rules and variations are included.

Why use games in mathematics instruction?

In a review of the literature on the use of games in mathematics classrooms, Randel, Morris, Wetzel, and Whitehill (1992) reported on eight studies; seven of those studies found games to be superior to traditional instruction in improving mathematics achievement. Games have been found to be useful in addressing content at both lower and higher levels of mathematics: '[G]ames can be effective for more than drill and practice and for more than low level learning of skills and concepts ... [they] can be used along with other instructional methods to teach higher level content' (Bright, Harvey, & Wheeler, 1985, p. 127). Games are also a beneficial addition to the learning environment because they increase motivation (Onslow, 1990).

Most current mathematics programs have included games in some way or another. In some curricula, games are used primarily as a supplement for paper-and-pencil practice; for others, games are an integral part of the development of concepts (e.g. TERC, 1998). In working with students, the authors of this article have found games to be effective in promoting basic mathematical ideas, especially in addressing the following goals:

(a) reviewing concepts at the beginning of the school year,

(b) helping students retain mathematical ideas during the school year (McBride & Lamb, 1991), and

(c) assisting students in developing new skills at the knowledge and comprehension levels (Bright, Harvey & Wheeler, 1985).

When students begin elementary school, most of them enjoy mathematics and have confidence in their ability to learn mathematics. However, their enjoyment of and confidence in mathematics declines as they continue in school (Carpenter, Fennema, Franke, Levi & Empson, 1999; Dossey, Mullins, Lindquist & Chambers, 1988). As students move through the grades, they perceive fewer and fewer opportunities for interaction among themselves. Allowing students to work in groups is 'an extremely effective technique for getting students actively involved in doing mathematics' (Van de Walle, 2001, p. 440). Teachers invite positive attitudes toward mathematics by providing occasions for peer interaction (Artzt & Newman, 1991). The 'Pits' game provides such opportunities, promoting basic ideas in whole number computation at the same time.

What is 'Pits' and how can it be used?

Players compete with a partner by using mental computation to add, subtract, multiply, and/or divide the numbers rolled on number cubes in order to fill all of the pits on a playing board. The game is flexible enough so that students of varying abilities and ages find it equally engaging. Even students with low-level mathematical skills immediately enjoy playing the 'Pits' game. This game offers both immediate success and a meaningful challenge for students whatever their computational abilities.

How to play 'Pits'

Object of the game

The winner is the first player to put a bead in each of the pits on his/her playing board.

Materials

A playing board for each player (see Designs for playing boards) 36 beads (two colours, 18 of each) Three number cubes, each labelled 1-6 with dots or numerals

Filling pits

Roll a number cube to determine who will be Player 1. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The 'Pits': A Game to Help Develop Skills and Promote Active Learning: Eula Ewing Monroe and Marvin Nelson Share Their Ideas for Enhancing Basic Computation Skills through Active Participation in a Game They Have Developed. A Highlight of the Game Is the Opportunity for Students to Share Their Computational Strategies by Verbalising Their Thinking
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.