Six schools on two North Dakota reservations are piloting a series of cutting-edge math video games that bridge math, adventure gaming and Native American culture—games that students and tribal members played an integral role in helping create. The pilot program began January 26, 2015.
The games—“Spirit Lake: The Game” and “Fish Lake”—are based on the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes and focus on teaching middle school-level math concepts. The games are the first math video games ever created with the Native American market in mind.
7 Generation Games’ cultural team members are based on both the Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain reservations in North Dakota. The team created and vetted the cultural content, while Native students also had significant input into the game’s design and content. Direct changes were made during the early production phases to incorporate student feedback and suggestions.
“You can make the best math game in the world, but if kids don’t want to play it, there’s no value to it,” 7 Generation CEO AnnMaria De Mars said. “It was the students’ input that really took the games from something good to something great.”
7 Generation Games mission is to create innovative ways to incorporate additional cultural content into the classroom without taking time from other subjects.
“Incorporating culture into the classroom will enhance student learning, boost self-esteem, and help address behavior problems. This will help our students when it comes to concentrating on math and other subjects,” explains Dr. Erich Longie, 7 Generation Games Senior Cultural Consultant.
In early beta testing done at schools on and near the Spirit Lake reservation, students who used the game three times a week (2.25 total hours per week) for six weeks saw a 300 percent increase in scores over students who did not play the game.
To learn how your classroom or child can get involved, visit the 7 Generation Games website at 7GenerationGames.com.