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Maths Games without Frontiers

Maria Giulia Ballatore1, Luca Damonte2, Anita Tabacco1
1 Dept. of Mathematical Sciences ‘G.L. Lagrange’, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
2 Dept. of Economic and Finance, Luiss University, Roma, Italy

Abstract. The use of games in higher education significantly benefits cognitive, motivational, affective, and sociocultural perspectives. This paper describes a mathematical challenge for first-year STEM students at the “College of Merit Camplus”, located in different cities in Italy from South to Nord, during the autumn of 2020 and 2021. Students in pairs play different puzzler games to reinforce mathematical prerequisites and basic knowledge. Due to the pandemic situation, non-digital games were forced to adjust to the remote environment. On the one hand, moving online was a challenge both from the organisational side and for the students that sometimes need to cooperate from different locations. On the other end, approaching the games remotely allowed students from colleges all around Italy to participate. The work describes and comments on each game in detail, considering the students’ performance. In general, it can be stated that students liked the playful experience, although they found themselves not wholly confident with some topics and the related time restriction. These games, first-of-all helped review and train the basic concepts; therefore, the students have a better approach to studying the first Mathematical course at the University. They found the games’ dynamics helpful in highlighting some simple tricks and common mistakes.

Keywords: Game based learning, Mathematics, Online challenge, Pair work, Playful environment

About the authors

Maria Giulia Ballatore. She is a Research Fellow at the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the Politecnico di Torino, Italy and a graduate student in Engineering Education. Her research interests lie in engineering education, the development and standardisation of learning technology, spatial abilities and gender issue. 

Luca Damonte. He is a Research Fellow at the Department of Economics and Finance at Luiss University in Rome, Italy. His research interests lie in the field of multi-agent systems and game theory. 

Anita Tabacco. She is a full professor of Mathematical Analysis at the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Her mathematical research activities are related to harmonic and functional analysis. Moreover, she is working in the field of Engineering Education. She is deeply involved in the management of the university. 

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0