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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#2048 in the Biology Classroom?



A colleague of mine is a high school science teacher with the learning goal of teaching students how exponential growth works in biology. The majority of his students come from impoverished backgrounds and lack the fundamental understanding of how exponential growth works. Many of his students struggle with basic numerical concepts that most students developed in pre-school. It is a huge barrier that can prevent them from understanding concepts like Mitosis and Myosis.

One of his biggest strengths is that he creates very effective visual representations of concepts; however, he is finding that he needs to use different strategies. Why? He is only addressing some and not all learner differences. Knowing the barriers his students face, allows him to develop a creative way to help his students understand the numerical patterns of exponential growth (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.).

Where did he turn? To the simple, but addicting game called 2048. The game provides students with a hands-on understanding of how exponential growth works. The best part is that students are playing the game outside of the classroom! They are learning and they don't even know it!

How does it work? Students shift number tiles to match the same number. For example, if you match the number 2 with another number 2, you make 4. If you match a 4 tile with another 4 tile, then you make 8. Your goal is to match enough tiles to come up with the magic 2048 tile.



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