This spring, we told you about a national math challenge for middle schoolers run by The MIT Education Arcade and supported by BrainPOP. Between April 1st and June 15th, nearly 1,000 teachers and other adult mentors enrolled more than 30,000 students in the Labyrinth Challenge, centered on the educational game Lure of the Labyrinth. Over the course of the 10 weeks, students collectively spent half a trillion minutes (that’s more than 950 years!) collaborating on the solving of mathematical puzzles to save pets from the “Tasti-Pet Factory.” In addition to gaining problem-solving confidence and bragging rights, students earned chances to win some amazing prizes. Those who worked together with their teammates to reach certain levels in the game were entered into a drawing for a complimentary home subscription to BrainPOP, animation software from FableVision, and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablets. Teachers also had chances to win by completing pre- and post-Challenge surveys. In total, 20 teachers and nearly 100 students were awarded prizes for their participation.
“Our partnerships with BrainPOP and Lenovo were critical to recruiting so many players to participate in the Labyrinth Challenge,” said Carole Urbano, Outreach Director for The MIT Education Arcade. “Offering prizes provided that extra incentive to motivate teachers and students alike to give the game a chance within the defined 10-week window.”
Now that the Labyrinth Challenge is complete, The MIT Education Arcade will examine participant game play to better understand how students used the game to collaborate, develop mathematical language, and solve problems. The research team will also investigate changes in teacher perceptions regarding the instructional uses of gaming and technology. Gains in Common Core mastery and deeper learning skills among Labyrinth Challenge participants will be measured by built-in assessment tools associated with each of the game’s nine modules. Findings will be documented in a final report to be released this fall.
Didn’t participate in the Challenge but want to get a feel for the game? You can access three of the Lure of the Labyrinth math puzzles on GameUp.