Family Math Night finally approached this past Thursday night at a Grand Haven elementary school. The game I had prepared for the students was a probability game called, "Build an Animal". When my partner and I tested the game out on the 5th graders before family math night the game was a great success. The 5th graders loved it and thought it would be a great game for younger students. The experience with the 5th graders made me confident about Family Math Night.

The night of Family Math Night I had prepared all of the animals for my game and created a rule sheet. When the night started my partner and I had to wait a little bit for anyone to come play our game. Finally, the first students wandered into our room and we explained the game. One of the students was very young, possibly in kindergarten while her brother was probably in about 2nd grade. The age difference between the two players really affected the game play. The younger student did not understand some of the rules and decided to do her own thing and just roll the die and choose whatever animal part she wanted, while her older brother tried to follow the rules. That was something I was very unprepared for. 

Children not following the rules of the game was a common pattern throughout the night. Younger students would get very upset when they rolled a number of a part they already had and so they had to skip a turn. They also were upset when they rolled a 5 which meant they had to steal a part from another player. We quickly had to adapt the rules for the younger students so that when they rolled a number they already had, they could roll again. With the stealing, we eventually changed the rule to, "steal a part from any pile" to avoid catastrophe. 

Another problem we faced at Family Math Night was explaining the math behind our game to younger students. The students that were probably in 1st grade and under struggled understanding the game, let alone the math behind it. Before Family Math Night I thought that younger children could easily play the game, but after actually working with them, I realized it was difficult for them. This made me realize this game is definitely meant for students from 2nd grade to possibly 4th grade. 

Family Math Night taught me that I need various adaptations of a game for each age group when working at an event like this. Though, there were some drawbacks of our game on the actual night, some students really enjoyed our game. The students that enjoyed our game the most were probably in the 2nd-4th grade range. Overall, Family Math Night was a great experience and has taught me a lot about teaching and I feel that it has made me a better teacher.  

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