Learning Math Through Games


My kids were bouncing up and down, ready to start the day. “Jiji! Jiji!”, Katie and Jessica chanted. Jiji is the penguin in ST Math. ST Math is a computer-based program designed to teach math visually. The lowest grade level available is kindergarten. But since it does not use words to instruct math concepts, Jessica (3.5 years old) is able to work on the math puzzles. I was surprised that she was able to progress quickly. I have been teaching her how to count for several weeks now and all I managed to teach her was to recite numbers.

“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11…20. I know how to count already Mommy!”, Jessica said in an exasperated tone. “Jessica, that’s not counting. Let me show you…”, my voice trailed off as Jessica moved on to another activity.

After working with ST Math for a few days, Jessica has already learned how to count properly from one to five. Jiji, the penguin, has taught her how to keep track of the objects that she already counted by tapping on different objects. When she tapped on the same object twice, Jiji gave immediate feedback and would go back to the left of the screen. This is how Jessica knew that she made the wrong move. What I was trying to teach Jessica for weeks, Jiji took a couple of days. Jiji is a more efficient teacher than me!

As for Katie, Jiji has helped reinforce the abstract concepts that I taught her and has helped her to retain the concepts longer. Katie’s interest in ST Math is different, though; where Jessica asks to “play” with ST Math, Katie is more interested in proving that she’s better at it than Jessica. Until she had a rival, Katie rarely used ST Math.

Here’s a link to the TED Talk about ST Math.

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