Students from Woodbridge Farms Elementary and Ardrossan Elementary recently participated in Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks Family Math Night.
While the name sounds complicated, the concept is simple: after classes end for the day, families and students return to school to learn math games that they can also play at home together. The evenings are led by learning facilitators from Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks, an Edmonton-based educational game company.
Using simple and affordable objects, such as dice and playing cards, the facilitators show families and students a variety of fun and engaging games. But instead of simply passing the time on a rainy day, these games are designed to reinforce concepts such as basic number sense, number recognition, place value and problem solving. There are different games for each grade level and each provides a fun challenge for the students.
"What is does is it provides those connections that kids need to take what they're learning in the classroom and their mathematics class and applying that to the real world," said Barb Percy, a numeracy consultant for Elk Island Public Schools. "Often times, students don't see that connection until they're actually playing game or baking or measuring things at home. Then they understand that there is a connection between what they're learning at school and what they actually do at home and in real life."
The district is hoping to do more of these games nights in the future with more schools.
Family Math Night is only one of the options that Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks offers to help bring numeracy into the home. Adult-only nights are also offered, where adults can get a crash course on a wider variety of games to bring home to their children. 
"I think it's a great way for kids to have fun and parents to have fun and it's the best kind of homework that there is, playing games."

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