Some Marshall ISD students experienced a new way to learn math last week while having fun and working as a team.
Sixth graders at Marshall Junior High School were able to hone their math skills by learning in a unique and fun way through the Geo-Glow Arcade.
Elizabeth Smith, a sixth-grade math teacher at Marshall Junior High School, and her colleagues came up with the idea for Geo-Glow Arcade after seeing Houston educator JoNequia Powers talk about her arcade-style math experiment in a Facebook group .
Last year, Smith decided the idea would be great for Marshall ISD students and decided to expand the concept to all sixth graders.
Now in its second year, students were able to enjoy the Geo-Glow Arcade again last week at school. Smith said they will continue to bring back the Geo-Glow Arcade every year as they shut down their in-class geometry unit.
Similar to an escape room, the Geo-Glow Arcade sees each class group reporting to their math teacher throughout the school day. As they introduce themselves to their math teacher, students take highlighters and worksheets that day for each station they will visit during the day. Worksheets allow students to show off their work as they solve math equations from piece to piece.
Classrooms are bathed in black light, making highlighters shine, alongside the tools students use at each station.
“We use highlighters because they look so cool under black light,” Smith said. “There are five stations that each group rotates to approximately every 10 minutes and we used four classrooms and the hallway. Each room represents an arcade game and how to solve STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) aligned questions involving the area or volume of a shape.
Smith said his bedroom was the room where students find the area, base, and/or height of a triangle while playing cup pong.
“Each cup had a STAAR lined up question, for each cup they shot the ping pong ball into, they had to solve,” Smith said.
Other rooms have been set up to allow students to find the area, base and/or height of a trapeze while playing Jenga. Each piece of Jenga has been painted a glow in the dark color and numbered.
“If they were able to retrieve the piece from Jenga and place it on top without dropping it, they would go grab the issue attached to that piece and solve it,” Smith said.
In another room, the student found the volume, base and/or height of a rectangular prism while playing tic-tac-toe.
“In order to claim a spot (X or O) on the board, the student must answer the question correctly,” Smith said.
In another room, students determined the area, base and/or height of a parallelogram while playing ring toss.
“Students took turns throwing a bean bag at the circular glow sticks,” Smith said. “Wherever he landed, they had to answer the question. The hallway was the last station, and it had shapes (triangles, trapezoids, and parallelograms) taped to the floor with phosphorescent tape. The students had to count the squares with their feet to get the base and the height of the figures in order to solve the area.
Smith said the Geo-Glow Arcade not only allowed students to get around, get out of their desks and have fun, but also helped them learn math skills they’ll use every day.
“Students really wanted to participate and get more involved to prove to their teachers if they understood the material,” Smith said. “Even though they still struggled to understand the question, they were impatient because the environment made it easier for them to want to learn.”