What it is: Math Trail is a neat way for students to explore virtual trails that lead to a variety of locations connected by a theme. Along the way, students put their math and geography skills to the test. The trail list currently has eight trails to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty. Students can choose an Olympic trail, 7 Wonders, Towers, Rivers, Eminent Mathematicians, Famous Islands, Cricket or Ramanujan trails. To begin, students choose a trail and then click on the “start” button. A list of instructions pops up. In each trail, math questions are hidden around the map. Students zoom in within the map to the location suggested by the clue. There are little balloons located all over the map. If students struggle to find the location, they can click the “show location” button at the bottom. At the bottom of the page, there is a white box that holds clues. When students reach a location, they are given a math challenge to complete. At each location, students have the opportunity to earn a gold coin.
How to integrate Math Trail into the classroom: I like the integration of history, geography, social studies and math in this game. Students aren’t just going through a series of multiple choice math problems. Instead, students are set forth on a journey and asked to locate various places according to the clues given. This means that as their math skills are put to the test, they are exercising that geography muscle as well! I don’t know what it is about maps, but they are just fun to explore. The treasure hunt nature of Math Trail keeps it interesting. Students get math practice and geography practice along the way. This beats the practice set that is in the textbook!
I found some of the “low” and “medium” level questions to be challenging. Before playing with students, go through the trails to find the challenge that is most appropriate for your students. This could mean that you have students playing different trails. The low end seems to be 6th-7th grade math with the Medium being middle school and the High being high school.
These trails are great for exploring on their own, but you could have students go through a trail together using the interactive whiteboard. Give each student an opportunity help the class search for the location (the class can help or bring in a Google search for particularly difficult clues). Each student can work out the math problem on their own and then come to a consensus of which answer to play in the game.
Tips: I wish that Math Trail provided a cheat sheet of all of questions in the game so that teachers could choose a trail for their students at-a-glance. If anyone has done this, let us know where to find it!
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Math Trail in your classroom.