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Last March, I wrote the post Levelling Up: two-digit math in kids’ video games, about how I used experience points and coins in kids’ mmos like Runescape and virtual worlds like Club Penguin to teach my Grade 5 students two-digit math. Writer Cora Lee and the editors at the great kids science magazine, YES Mag, took note and have featured my experience in the article “Adding Culture to Math”, appearing in the July/August 2008 issue.

The article is a fascinating look at how math ties into cultures around the world, from First Nations culture all the way to popular culture examples like video games. That’s where I come in. Here’s a quick snippit from the article:

Liam O’Donnell, an Ontario teacher and author, looked to popular culture to help his Grade 5 class with two-digit multiplication. O’Donnell realized he could use an online roleplaying game, Runescape, to teach the concept. In Runescape, players need to use two-digit multiplication to figure out, for instance, how many experience points they earn by taking on quests, using skills, or defeating beasts.

The article goes on to give some example video game scenarios for readers to work out, which is a very cool addition to the whole piece. If you’re looking for ways to bring a new twist into math for young minds in your life, I suggest you pick up the magazine and check it out.

[Full disclosure: I’ve written for both YES Mag and KNOW Mag as a freelancer in the past. I was contacted by Cora Lee after she discovered my post on my blog. That’s it. Honest. Go ahead, look in the closet. There’s nothing there. 😉 ]

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