- Dan Van der Vieren, a former math teacher and an academic coach has used the Rubik’s Cube and a lesson around mosaics to spark students’ interest in math, he wrote in Edutopia.
- Students follow templates that help them create a mosaic. Each face of the Rubik’s Cube is matched to a specific image, eventually building a whole picture, which der Vieren has tied to math problems. For example, he’ll teach fractions by asking what percent of the tiles are a certain color.
- He’s found free templates online, and even a lending library, through a group called the You Can Do The Rubik’s Cube that he's used as resources in the classroom. He's also used the toy with an art course, having students research some of the figures whose images are featured in the mosaics.
Using game-based approaches in classrooms can enhance student learning by making subject matter more engaging, and by tapping into active learning. These methods do not have to be driven by technology, but students need to find the lessons fun. Such approaches are particularly beneficial in subjects such as math and science, in which students might be a little more nervous at first, but may find that playing a game helps them relax and then ease into subject matter.
By giving students a way to tie what they see as playing into learning, educators can also help liven up lessons. In some cases, these game-based approaches can be in the form of traditional video games, a method used in Georgia to assess 1st and 2nd graders.
Game-based learning can also bring other benefits into a classroom. While the approach can enhance and support academic learning, it can also support social and emotional skills in students. In playing games, children work together, learning how to handle situations when they win, and also the disappointment when they lose — an added benefit.