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Making math a fun experience for students
What began as a class project in 2003 has been turned into a learning tool by Willi Penner.
Penner, who lives in North Kildonan, developed the game Mathopoly for a class project while studying education at Brandon University.
The game is now used in approximately 200 schools in Western Canada and the United States.
Penner, who recently moved back from Calgary ,where he taught for seven years, said Mathopoly is a curriculum-driven math game that includes geometry, division, addition, and subtraction.
It is based on the math curriculum from Grades 5 to 8, while there are also junior cards available based on the curriculum for Grades 4 and 5.
"It was something we came up with 10 years ago, it’s something I use in the classroom," said Penner who owns the business Mathopoly Games.
"It’s a different way to get kids interested in math."
Penner said he struggled with math growing up, so he knows how hard it can be for some kids to get engaged in the content.
"I was a terrible math student as a kid and I think it’s because I wasn’t engaged," said Penner who also has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg.
"I knew, becoming a teacher ,if I wanted to teach math I needed to come up with a way to connect with students."
Sandy Margetts, a math methods and science methods professor at Brandon University who taught Penner, said what began as an assignment has grown into a useful teaching tool for teachers.
"It’s terrific, I use it in my middle years method class now. A lot of the schools in Brandon are using the game," Margetts said.
"It’s so cool because it’s a great assessment tool and it’s also a great learning tool."
Penner had the opportunity to pitch the game on the show Dragons’ Den in 2010. His pitch to the Dragons was unsuccessful but that didn’t deter Penner.
"It’s amazing how many people watch that show. The Dragons, from what I was told, are not big fans of board games," Penner said, adding he is currently working on two other educational games
"But people recognize the game from the show. Some people have the perception that if the Dragons say no, your business is dead, but that’s not the case."
Mathopoly costs $30, junior cards are $15, and there is a free pickup option for those living in Winnipeg.
For more information visit www.mathopoly.ca or email Penner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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