Well Played, 6-8: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, 6-8 (Paperback)

Well Played, 6-8: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, 6-8 By Linda Dacey, Karen Gartland, Jayne Bamford Lynch Cover Image

Well Played, 6-8: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, 6-8 (Paperback)


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Students love math games and puzzles, but how much are they really learning from the experience? Too often, math games are thought of as just a fun activity or enrichment opportunity. Well Played: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, Grades 6-8 shows you how to make games and puzzles an integral learning component that provides teachers with unique access to student thinking.
This third book in the series helps you engage students in grades 6–8 in discussions of mathematical ideas and deepen their conceptual understanding.  It also helps you develop students’ fluency with number systems; ratio and proportional relationships; expressions and equations, statistics and probability; and patterns, graphs, and functions.
The twenty-five games and puzzles in Well Played, which have all been field-tested in diverse classrooms, contain:
  • Explanations of the mathematical importance of each game or puzzle and how it supports student learning
  • Variations for each game or puzzle to address a range of learning levels and styles
  • Classroom vignettes that model how best to introduce the featured game or puzzle
The book also includes a separate chapter with suggestions for how to effectively manage games and puzzles in diverse classrooms; game boards, game cards, and puzzles; assessment ideas; and suggestions for online games, puzzles, and apps.
Well Played will help you tap the power of games and puzzles to engage students in sustained and productive mathematical thinking. 
Linda Dacey, professor of mathematics and education at Lesley University, began her career teaching at the elementary level and early in her career, received an NSF grant to develop a model program for preparing middle school teachers. She works with pre-service and in-service teachers, helping them to develop both their content knowledge and their practice. Her commitment to the quality of mathematics education was noted when she was inducted into the Massachusetts Mathematics Educators Hall of Fame. She is a reviewer for NCTM's Teaching Children Mathematics, was guest editor for the recent issue of the New England Mathematics Journal's issue on equity, and a prolific writer of books and resource materials for both teachers and writers. Her research focuses on problem solving, number sense, and strategies for differentiation.

Karen Gartland is a mathematics coordinator and classroom teacher at Groton-Dunstable Middle School. She enjoys working with students of all ages with a focus on conceptual understanding of mathematics through critical thinking and application as well as best practices for integrating technology. Karen is also an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University.

Jayne Bamford Lynch is a district math instructional coach in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she spends most of her days in elementary classrooms supporting coaches, teachers, and students. Jayne presents workshops for teachers, administrators, and parents on a multitude of topics and is also a National Faculty member of the School of Education at Lesley University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781625310330
ISBN-10: 1625310331
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication Date: April 7th, 2016
Pages: 234
Language: English
Linday Dacey, et.al.'s Well Played, 6-8: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles (9781625310330, $25.00) offers an excellent gathering of details in its third book in a series, and shows teachers how to make games and puzzles a solid part of the classroom experience. Explanations of the math lessons in each game or puzzle delve into how the approach will help students, while variations for different learning levels and classroom accounts of the games and puzzles in action make for a top survey. From basic directions to materials needed and extending the lesson objective, this is a top pick for teachers who would inject play and learning into a math curriculum.

The Bookwatch: July 2016

Well Played: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, Grades 6-8provides middle-grades math teachers the opportunity to think deeply about the games and puzzles that they are incorporating into classroom instruction. The games and puzzles provided throughout the text are intended to deepen conceptual understanding of concepts in (1) number systems; (2) ratios and proportional relationships; (3) expression and equations; (4) statistics and probability; and (5) patterns, graphs, and functions. For each game or puzzle, the authors provide tips for the classroom to support learning and understanding rather than just game play. The appendix of the text is extensive, containing directions for each game and puzzle, templates for each activity, and answer keys.
Overall, the games and puzzles are well written, and the book does a great job of detailing the most effective way to incorporate both into instruction. The main weakness of the text is that there is no accompanying electronic file. This would be helpful when adapting games and puzzles to meet specific grade level and state standard needs.
I would recommend this book to middle-grades math teachers looking for premade games and puzzles that can be used to increase student engagement while strengthening conceptual understanding in the classroom.
Jennifer Almanza
Northside Independent School District
San Antonio, Texas
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, November 2016, Vol. 22, Issue 4

This book presents twenty-five games or puzzles designed to address important mathematical ideas for the middle grades, such as ratios, proportional relationships,
equations, and expressions. Each game or puzzle was explored in a classroom, and descriptions contain first-hand accounts of how to use the game or puzzle in the classroom to promote discussion, build student responsibility for learning, and encourage collaborative learning. The authors guide teachers toward quick assessments of student learning by offering suggestions about how students may be communicating their thinking, using mathematical vocabulary, or creating conjectures or generalizations while playing a specific game or completing a puzzle. Moreover, each game or puzzle description contains variations, extensions, and formal exit card questions for use in the classroom. I would recommend this book to upper elementary and middle school teachers, as it is very teacher-friendly, is well-organized, and has ready-to-use resources. With a little work, teachers of all ages could adapt many of the games or puzzles to content specific to their grade level
or focus of instruction.
Amy Dwiggins,
University of Missouri–Columbia.