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A new online game promises to boost math learning skills

ALPENA, Mich. – Kids can actually benefit from spending a little extra time at the computer. A new gaming system has taken over the way students solve math problems beyond the textbook.

It’s the new online game. “I think it’s very fun how they put like aliens or something in them,” said third grader Peighton O’Neal.

It’s the type of game that “teaches you a lot of math and gets you doing them quick,” said classmate Liam Kenney, and it’s helping teachers see the benefits of gaming in school.

“We’re one of two elementary schools in Alpena that are piloting a program called Imagine Math,” said principal Hans Stevens, Lincoln Elementary.

The site is a supplement to the school’s regular math curriculum. It’s divided into multiple levels of difficulty. “The fact that it’s individualized for the student is what’s really amazing,” said Stevens.

The kids go through four sets of games: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. “Sometimes I have to practice a lot on the computer and then I get it when I feel confident,” said O’Neal.

Nearly 20 percent of kids completed 30 or more lessons at Lincoln. “That’s like a year’s worth of math, roughly,” said the principal.

“I completed 50 lessons,” said Kenney.

Punching in a couple moves on the keyboard can yield a nice learning curve. Stevens said he likes the program “because it’s proven to be effective.”

Hinks elementary is the other school piloting the online game Imagine Math. If things go well, the district will allow all six elementary schools to implement the program.