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Play Mental Maestro to Win at Multiplication

A fast paced math multiplication game to engage students and help them master critical skills

MathBait, where learning is always fun

Looking for engaging content for middle school math? Look no further! MathBait™ is a revolutionary new program that combines storytelling, analogies, and gamification to make learning mathematics more interesting and relevant than ever before!

In this article, educator Laura Palermo takes an in-depth look at the game Mental Maestro, a math multiplication game that is a part of the online series in which students develop real-world skills to prepare them to be the problem-solvers of tomorrow.

 

Mental Maestro, an online mathematics multiplication game from MathBait, pits students against a computer opponent in a fast-paced contest. First player to earn fifty points wins! Students earn points by correctly answering multiplication questions. But Mental Maestro questions are far from a typical math worksheet. Mental Maestro trains students to think flexibly about numbers and multiplication.


Mental Maestro can be found in the Decoding unit from MathBait, a revolutionary program that changes the way students approach and interact with mathematics. With an adventure novel instead of a traditional mathematics textbook and an interactive online game and activity platform instead of traditional worksheets, MathBait lets students engage with math through analogies and stories. Here's how the game Mental Maestro helps students master skills within the MathBait universe and beyond.


Game Play

Game play begins after students click “Let’s Play!”. The stage is set with two opponent icons on screen. A multiplication question like 83 times 4 appears between the opponents. Students can click “Buzz In” to attempt to answer. But the computer opponent works quickly! If a student does not make an answer attempt in time, the computer opponent will attempt to answer the question.


Mental Maestro game screen display. Purple icon of a person at a lectern next to blue icon of a person at a lectern. Scores shown above each player. Each player has zero points. Multiplication question is 83 times 4 displays between the icons. A button with text Buzz In sits below the purple icon on the left.
A Mental Maestro game in progress shows the stage set with two opponents.

If the computer opponent answers incorrectly, students can steal points by answering correctly. Because Mental Maestro does not feature a pause button, game pace is rapid. Read Timed Activities: Stressful or Impactful for tips on how to support students on timed games.


Students can play Mental Maestro many times. So a first game or the first few problems can be framed as practice to give students a chance to get a feel for the game and to learn how to enter answers. Mental Maestro displays correct answers after every question, reinforcing multiplication strategies and helping students correct errors. Correct answers display until students click “Next Round”, so students can review at their own pace before attempting a new question. A quick game spans about five minutes, but students can play one round of Mental Maestro for much longer.

Mental Maestro game screen display for question 94 times 6. Correct answer is 94*6=6(90+4)=6(90)+6(4)=540+24=564
Correct answers with full solution notes display after each round.

Prerequisites

To succeed in Mental Maestro, students should be familiar with multiplication up to ten. And students need to be willing to let go of reliance on a calculator and the standard multiplication algorithm. Familiarity with the distributive property supports student work in Mental Maestro, but a formal understanding of the distributive property is not required or recommended. The instructions that display above the “Let’s Play!” button provide appropriate support with math content needed to play. An on-screen notepad or a paper and pencil nearby can help students organize their thoughts while playing.


Pedagogy and Alignment

Mental Maestro’s mission states, “The more you practice, the stronger your battle skills will be!”. And it’s true. As students attempt more questions, students become more confident and efficient in manipulating problems and in finding products. Mental Maestro’s contest feel, coupled with its quick timing, keeps students working. The challenge of breaking apart a multiplication problem makes Mental Maestro more fun and engaging than traditional drill and kill standard multiplication algorithm worksheets, where students follow an inflexible algorithm. Mental math like that featured in Mental Maestro empowers students to manipulate numbers so that numbers work for students. While students play, they build fundamental skills for future algebraic work with the distributive property. The game’s encouraging instructions bring personality, fun, flexibility, and thoughtful gamification to basic math skill work.


Mental Maestro addresses the following Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

  • Standards for Mathematical Practice 7: Look for and make use of structure.

  • Grade 3 Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division. 3.OA.B.5

  • Grade 6 The Number System: Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples. 6.NS.B.4

  • Grade 6 Expressions and Equations: Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers. 6.EE.2.b

Summary

Mental Maestro pushes learning beyond algorithms and calculator use. There’s something inherently fun about trying to increase speed and accuracy of mental math. Students can enjoy the game as a standalone activity and as part of a sequence to algebraic success.


Interested in playing Mental Maestro? MathBait is launching an all new platform August 2023! Students will complete missions, earn XP, collect items to advance in their quest, all while learning key and transferrable mathematics skills. Subscribe to our mailing list for the latest details and to reserve your spot! Teachers and administrators are welcome contact partner@mathbait.com for more information about bringing MathBait activities into the classroom. MathBait's adventure novel Marco the Great and the History of Numberville is available at Amazon and other book retailers.


 

Cover image of Marco the Great and the History of Numberville

Ready to start your adventure? Order your copy today!



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