Game designers mine for success

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The KES pupils were, from left- James Smyth, Brandon Doyle, David Ansell and Dan Scopes. Photo submitted

STUDENTS from King Edward VI School have designed their own online game on Mangahigh, an educational maths platform for students across the globe. 

Launched last Thursday at KES by pupils aged 13 to 14, the game concept was selected as the winner of the Cracking the Code competition run by Nesta – the innovation foundation.

The winning team’s Minus Miners game challenges participants to escape an underground mine, teaching them all about negative numbers in the process. There is also a shop where players can go and spend the gold coins they collect from correctly answering questions.  In its second year, the competition invited 11 to14 year- olds to work together in groups to use maths to design online games.

Ten teams of finalists came to Nesta’s offices in central London in June to present their idea to a panel of judges. The game is aimed at the designers’ peers to inspire a love of maths and demonstrate how the subject can be used creatively.

The winning team of students came up with the layout, story and maths puzzles within the game. Mangahigh then produced a paper prototype of the game, which was tested by the team of students, before building the game online.

Amanda Wood, assistant head of mathematics at KES, said:Through this competition, I have seen a level of creativity from the students that I don’t normally see. I am so proud of the students. It is incredible to see just how much they have learned from this project; so much more than just a thorough understanding of negative numbers but also presentation skills, confidence and teamwork when working with the design team to develop the game.”

Cracking the Code, run by Nesta, the innovation foundation, Tata Group and Tata Consultancy Services is a part of Maths Mission, a programme of activity aiming to improve maths and problem solving skills and interest in maths through competitions, digital parental engagement tools and peer mentoring.