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Mathematical Puzzles,  Technology

Why You Need to Play Mathematical Games

 

Main points:

  • Playing mathematical games helps you stay focused and makes your mind sharp.
  • Playing mathematical games makes you happy.
  • Playing mathematical games makes you inquisitive.

Have you ever played a mathematical game? Besides just for the enjoyment, mathematical games are used for other purposes. In scientific studies, they have been used to make participants wakeful [4]; they have also been used in studies on creativity [6]. In what follows, you will find out some of the reasons why you should play mathematical games.

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Playing mathematical games helps you stay focused and makes your mind sharp

If you cannot focus on an activity for too long, either that activity is boring or you have a low attention span. If you fall in the second category, you may struggle to achieve your goals that require that you stay focused for a long time. Whether your goal is training to win a competition, cultivating a workout habit, sticking to a diet, building a company, passing a course, or writing / reading a book; if you have low attention, you will struggle to achieve any of these goals. The human prefrontal cortex is known to play an active role in attention [7], and mathematical games have been shown to significantly affect young adults’ prefrontal cortex [5].

Being old is not a reason to not have goals, so a low attention among old adults can be a problem. Mathematical games have also been shown to increase old adults’ attention span and enhance their memory [1].

Mathematical games have also been used to help patients recover their mental abilities after a brain trauma [2]. Having a serious brain injury after an accident can negatively impact your life forever. Skills you have acquired for years have all evaporated, and you have to start over and learned all the basics so that you can have your life back. Some of the learning activities you go through in this process are to activate parts of your brain – if you successfully complete these activities, you can regain some of your previous abilities.

Playing mathematical games makes you happy

If you are bored, there are many activities you can undertake. And playing a mathematical game can be one of them. A mathematical game can stimulate your willingness to surmount a challenge and your curiosity to find the solution. Furthermore, using a new technology can whet your appetite for exploration to discover tools you have not known nor used before.

When people spend some time playing mathematical games, they report they have fun [5][3]. What then are you waiting for to try a mathematical game?

Playing mathematical games makes you inquisitive

People who are good at mathematics tend to be inquisitive. To solve a mathematical problem, people often ask questions to ensure that claims or moves they have used are really correct. Starting with the equation 2 x + 3 = 1 and arriving at the answer x = -1, solvers would need to ensure that each step in the solution is correct to understand why the final answer is correct.

A good way to become inquisitive is to solve mathematical problems, and a good way to excel at mathematical problem solving is to play mathematical games. In fact, a group of adults who play a mathematical game showed improvement in learning fractions [8].

Last Words

As you now know, you can play mathematical games not only for entertaining yourself and killing time but also for increasing your mental abilities so that you can reach your goals. You can go here to find mathematical games to play.

 

References

[1] (Apr. 2017). Chi, Hongmei et al. “Developing serious games to promote cognitive abilities for the elderly”. 2017 IEEE 5th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH). URL: untitled (segah.org) or Developing serious games to promote cognitive abilities for the elderly – IEEE Conference Publication.

[2] (Oct. 2017). Gray-Smith, Amy K. “Like Riding a Bike, But Not”. The ASHA Leader, vol. 22, issue 10. URL: Like Riding a Bike, But Not: After a traumatic brain injury, a patient’s life skills return, although slowly. But even as she “gets back on the bike,” she realizes she not the same person.: The ASHA Leader: Vol 22, No 10.

[3] (Sept. 2020). Greipl, Simon et al. “Different performance, full experience: a learning game applied throughout adulthood”. International Journal of Serious Games, vol. 7, number 3. URL: Different performance, full experience: a learning game applied throughout adulthood | International Journal of Serious Games (seriousgamessociety.org).

[4] (Jul. 2019). Hermiller, Molly S. et al. “Frequency-specific noninvasive modulation of memory retrieval and its relationship with hippocampal network connectivity”. Hippocampus, vol. 29, issue 27. URL: Frequency-specific noninvasive modulation of memory retrieval and its relationship with hippocampal network connectivity (nih.gov).

[5] (Nov. 2020). Kober, Silvia Erika et al. “Game-based learning environments affect frontal brain activity”. PLos One, vol. 15, issue 11. URL: Game-based learning environments affect frontal brain activity (plos.org).

[6] (2020). Shaw, Stacy. Creative Problem-Solving in Mathematics: Immersion, Impasse, Incubation, and Insight. Dissertation (Univ. of California, Los Angeles). URL: pdf (escholarship.org).

[7] (Nov. 2020). Terra, Huub et al. “Prefrontal Cortical Projection Neurons Targeting Dorsomedial Striatum Control Behavioral Inhibition”. Current Biology, vol. 30, issue 21. URL: Prefrontal Cortical Projection Neurons Targeting Dorsomedial Striatum Control Behavioral Inhibition (researchgate.net).

[8] (Dec. 2020). Wortha, Silke M. et al. “Neurofunctional plasticity in fraction learning: an fMRI training study”. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, vol. 21. URL: Neurofunctional plasticity in fraction learning: An fMRI training study – ScienceDirect 
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