University of Iowa introduces Pokemon Go to teach math - Hindustan Times

University of Iowa introduces Pokemon Go in their syllabus to teach math

Feb 21, 2024 01:54 PM IST

The University of Iowa introduces "Pokemath," a innovative class using the popular mobile game to teach mathematics.

A US university is on the verge of proving that video games are not only a form of entertainment, but also a source of learning and inspiration.

The new class uses Pokemon Go to teach mathematicsPokemon GO (Image Credit: Niantic)
The new class uses Pokemon Go to teach mathematicsPokemon GO (Image Credit: Niantic)

Many educators have recognized the potential of video games to enhance their teaching methods and engage their students in different subjects. Games like Assassin's Creed offering up realistic historical experiences on virtual platforms, can spark interest in students.

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One of the most innovative examples of this is the new class offered by the University of Iowa, which uses Pokemon Go as a tool to teach mathematics. The class, called Pokemath, aims to help students grasp mathematical concepts by applying them to the popular mobile game.

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‘We have not found any as good as ‘Pokémon Go’’

Kitrick Fynaardt, the instructor of the class, conceived Pokemath. He explained the rationale behind his idea in an interview.

“Finding a game that is both accessible and has that rich mathematical backdrop, we have not found any as good as ‘Pokémon Go,’ It includes some walking around,” Fynaardt added.

“It’s not super intensive like video gamey stuff and sort of technical ability, and it’s being free was a huge one.”

“Students seem to really enjoy using Pokémon to motivate mathematics, and it drew them into the math of ‘Pokémon Go.’ but then also sent them out, and they started to see the math in other areas of their life,” Fynaardt said.

The class will cover topics such as geometry, probability, statistics, and optimization, using Pokemon Go as a context and a motivation. For example, students will learn how to calculate the optimal angle and force to throw a Pokeball, or how to maximize their chances of catching a rare Pokemon.

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The class has attracted a lot of interest from students who are fans of Pokemon or who want to try a new approach to learning math. The first session of the class, which will start in the Spring semester, is already full and has a waiting list.

“It’s not super intensive with like video gamey stuff and sort of technical ability, and its free was a huge one,” Fynaard explained.

Pokemath is a creative and fun way to make math more relevant and enjoyable for students.

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