Studies of the Use of the MathGym-1D Game

Event Location Date Size Grade
Math Camps Lawton, OK Summer, 2004 49 3 to 11
Elgin Middle School Elgin, OK Spring, 2005 18 5 to 6
Red Cross School: Rita & Katrina Kids River Center Baton Rouge, LA Sept., 2005 50 1 to 6
Renaissance Village School for Katrina Kids Baton Rouge, LA 2005-2007 75 K to 6
Baton Rouge International School Baton Rouge, LA Fall, 2005 20 K to 3
Lawton Gifted and Talented Program Lawton, OK Spring, 2006 68 4 to 6
Hammond East Side Primary Hammond, LA Spring, 2007 103 3
Lawton Parks & Recreation Summer Camps Lawton, OK Summer, 2007 62 1 to 9
Creative Scholars Camp Nichols State U., Thibodaux, LA Summer, 2007 16 5 to 8
Baker School System Baker, LA 2008 - 2009 2-5

Our Conclusions From These Experiences

  • Kids at all ages and all level of abilities can maintain focus doing math for long periods of time if properly motivated. K-2 (1/2 hr), 3-4 (1 hr), 5-up (2+ hr).
  • If they can count their steps they can all work with positive and negative numbers as easily as with positive numbers only.
  • First graders can build and evaluate simple algebraic expressions in one or more variables.
  • Third graders can understand and work with powers having positive bases.
  • Fourth graders can understand and work with powers having both positive and negative bases. Gifted fourth graders can work with variables having variable powers.
  • Most fourth graders and above learn the correct order of operations for negation, addition, multiplication and exponentiation.
  • They all learn to work word problems at their grade level and the bright ones can progress rapidly to higher level problems.
  • Kids at different levels of ability can play together competitively by each using their own level of Workout cards.
  • Good 1st graders learn to play the game faster than most 5th graders and they play it smarter faster.
  • Special Ed Experience:  Among all the students we worked with there was one mildly mentally handicapped student, two (gifted and talented) autistic students, at least 16 ADHD students, and 68 gifted & talented students.  All could play the game. Four ADHD 3rd graders working at the 1st and 2nd grade level progressed to the Yellow Belt 3rd and 4th grade problem deck after 3 days playing the game at the White Deck level.

Quantitative Results

Math Camps: Five, week-long, half-day summer camps for 4th -11th grade students.  Direct response Pretests and Posttests were given.

  • C or worse students showed a 16% average increase in score.
  • B or better students showed a 15% average increase in score.

Elgin Middle School: A three week, one hour per day after school study of 5th & 6th graders funded by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement and Technology.  Direct response Pretests and Posttests were given. The pre-test data did not indicate a normal population so small sample statistics could not be used. Nonetheless simple non-parametric analyses still show amazing improvement.

Subtest First Quartile Median Third Quartile
Pretest Posttest Pretest Posttest Pretest Posttest
Signed Numbers 31% 39% 46% 62% 56% 85%
Exponents 0% 29% 0% 58% 38% 83%
Evaluation of Expressions 22% 44% 33% 44% 58% 67%
Problem Solving 25% 44% 50% 75% 75% 75%
Total Test 28% 41% 34% 61% 51% 72%

Qualitative Results

Baton Rouge International School (2006, Baton Rouge, LA)

We set up an after school "math club" program at BRIS. We solicited parent volunteers who would dedicate 2 hours a week (Thursday afternoon 3-5 pm) to come and play Math Gym-1D with the students. 20 students signed up and we usually had 4 to 5 parent volunteers helping the kids play the game. By the second session the kids were all playing the game. The kids loved it and their parents were amazed. The students progressed rapidly through White Belt problem level and most of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders were playing at Yellow Belt level within a month. We started the eight kindergarten students and first graders off on a floor mat prototype where the kids themselves became the playing pieces. They liked it, but became bored with it after 5 or 6 times playing and moved on up to the board game with the rest of the kids. The program continued until the end of the semester.

Renaissance Village (2005 - 2007, FEMA trailer park, Baker, LA)

2005/2006 Day School: When the Baton Rouge River Center shelter closed after Katrina many of the folks were moved to Renaissance Village. Thirteen kids were taught daily for the remainder of the school year, first in the dining tent, then in a portable "internet library" set up in a mobile home on site. The students always wanted to play Math Gym-1D and were accommodated as often as was feasible (usually 2 or 3 times a week). The students caught up in math and some even accelerated to higher grade levels. The third, fourth, and fifth graders learned to use negative numbers, variables and powers, and they learned to solve the workout problems associated with their grade level. The first and second graders also loved playing the game but many struggled with low reading levels and required greater supervision and adult interaction. However one young 1st grade student was working 5th&6th grade level problems and using exponent tiles with negative bases by year's end.
Result: All students enrolled in public school at grade level and did well even though they had missed a year of school. Some of these students even moved on to "gifted" programs.

2006/2007 Summer & After School Program: Many (~60) children in the trailer park came and played the game and received instruction:

Result: All children involved in either of the last two years programs passed their 2007 NCLB exams and advanced to the next grade.

Hammond East Side Primary (2007, Hammond, LA)

The third graders played the game three days a week for six weeks just before they took their ILEAP tests. They and their teachers loved the game. Four ADHD 3rd graders working at the 1st and 2nd grade level progressed to the Yellow Belt 3rd and 4th grade problem deck after 3 days playing the game at the White Deck level.

Result: These third graders scored significantly higher on the test than those the year before, while the Parish scores were one point lower.

Lawton Parks & Recreation Summer Camps (2007, Lawton, OK)
Creative Scholars Camp, Nichols State University (Summer 2007, Thibodaux, LA)

This is an annual camp for dyslexic students. We wanted to discover if dyslexic students had any difficulty playing Math Gym 1D since some scholars purport that almost 80% of those with dyslexia also have dyscalculia. The students who were living on campus during the camp played the game each evening for a couple of hours. None of the students exhibited any difficulty in playing the game, leading us to question the 80% estimate. On the last evening of the camp we played a group tournament with all of the students and were impressed with the excitement and collaborative effort of the students.

City of Baker School System (2008-2009, Baker, LA)

Second grade through fifth grade students were taught to play Math Gym 1D game during regular class time and computer lab time. They had no difficulty playing and most needed no encouragement to compete with their peers. At the end of the year the fourth and fifth grades held a double elimination tournament to determine the best math class at each grade level.


Students and Teachers love the game.

I thought it would be boring, but it's fun
David S., 5th Grade
You can do math while having fun. It's getting up into very advanced math that I didn't know.
Hannah B., 5th Grade
My students love it.  They have begged me to play again and again.  They are upset when it is time to put it up...It's wonderful.
Sara M., Union 5th & 6th Grade Center, Tulsa, OK
I have had other teachers in my department asking me to share the game with them for their students.  It's wonderful.
Sara M., Union 5th & 6th Grade Center, Tulsa, OK
Thank you for sharing your amazing game with my classes... The students learned so much!
Kessi M., Lawton, OK