Using Competition as a Recipe for Success
Jack Davidson from Davenies School explains how he used competition to get his students engaged with maths. He also got his colleagues to join in on the fun and they all organised an online maths event together!
At Davenies School we teach boys from Reception to Year 8. One of our main goals is to create a fun, engaging learning environment. I also find it important that students can learn independently and at their own pace. This brought my attention to using digital tools that have assignments at the ready.
Of course, introducing a new tool can be challenging. I had previous experience with Mangahigh at a different school and wanted to bring this to Davenies as well. Eventually, I wanted to use this online maths tool to supplement the learning we’re already doing in the classroom, and in revision weeks too. To achieve high engagement on a daily basis, I really wanted to get the students (and other teachers!) super excited about digital learning from the get-go.
Building the Recipe
I knew three main ingredients for success:
- I really wanted to excite the kids about maths
- The boys at Davenies love a competition. We work with house points for positive behaviours, which works excellent at our school
- And, surprise surprise, the students love games
So what I decided to do is combine these three elements with a strong introduction to Mangahigh. I organised a ‘Mangahigh Month’ as a kick-off event where the students competed against the other classes to win house points and some fun, small prizes as well. This event was run throughout Year 3 - Year 8 so I got my colleagues on board too.
During this month, students were allowed to work on Mangahigh activities and games at school, but were also heavily encouraged to continue their learning at home - which they did! We assigned some activities for them, but during this event, they were allowed to freeplay all games and activities as well.
Add in a Dash of Competition
There’s a competition element at Mangahigh already, where schools compete against each other to get to the top of the leaderboard each month. You can also see the top students on the leaderboard for your own school. The great thing about this is that all activities award the same amount of points for the leaderboard, no matter what year level the student is working on.
We took this as the base of our concept and encouraged all students to complete as many maths activities as they could to climb up the leaderboard. Of course, we also had fun rewards ready for the students. Each student earned stars for their efforts, whether they got on the leaderboard or not. But the top student each week received a special prize! They got a silly video made by their teacher to congratulate them on their achievements. This was February 2021, so everyone was working at home at the time. These little videos were a really fun morale boost for the students, and really fun for the teachers to make too!
The Cherry on Top
The students loved the event, and they put in so much effort! So much so that at the end of the month, our school managed to get to the top of the leaderboard for all Mangahigh schools in the UK! It was a really fun experience and a proud moment for both the students and the teachers at Davenies. To celebrate, we organised a rewards ceremony where the students in the top 10 at the end of the month got their prizes and a certificate.
The students really enjoyed the event and were truly engaged with maths. They were also very familiar with the platform now, which meant that going forward they could use it independently. Now I use Mangahigh in my lessons every week. In revision weeks we use Mangahigh daily, so that individual students can work on the topics that they struggle with. On top of all the learning they’re doing, students are also having fun!
Some Quick Tips
I highly recommend organising a similar event at your school too! It was so much fun and really not as much work as you might think. Here are a few quick tips that I wanted to pass along:
- Get your colleagues on board - if you’re already familiar with the platform you might be able to train up your colleagues yourself. But you can also always ask the team at Mangahigh to provide teacher training.
- Leverage practices that are already in place - you don’t need to reinvent the wheel! We used our existing house point system and the existing leaderboards on Mangahigh as a base for our event. It made it so much easier!
- Your students know more than you might think - students are so used to digital (especially after 2020) that they’ll get the hang of whatever platform you’re wanting to use without too much explanation - it’s usually very intuitive.
And don’t forget to have fun!
Would you like to try out Mangahigh yourself? Get a free trial here!