Guest post by Steve Bambury, teacher & founder of iPad Educators
When I heard the title of Motion Math’s newest game – Motion Math: Pizza! – I have to admit, I assumed it’d be a fractions app. Let’s face it, pizza + teaching normally equals fractions! I was pleasantly surprised to find it was something quite different and truly original: an enterprise simulation that helps children to understand the perils and pitfalls of running and developing a successful business. I’m not going to go into to much detail about how much I like the app here since I already gave it a glowing five star review. Instead I’m going to focus on how I actually embedded the app into my teaching to enrich an established project.
For the last couple of years at my school JESS Jumeirah in Dubai, the Year 6 children have been completed an enterprise-based project known as The Crafter’s Market. Essentially they form teams and design a craft product that is sold during the Spring Term with all the profits going to charity. The children form a company, designing logos and simple business plans as well as marketing materials. They are also visited by local entrepreneurs who share tips and ideas.
Motion Math: Pizza! seemed to me to offer a unique opportunity to provide the kids with a simulation of a business in action without the need for real money and a long time frame. Our objective? Learn how to lose customers. Now that may sound odd but an important part of any learning process is making mistakes, identifying them and then learning how to avoid making them again. As the old saying goes: “the customer is always right” – and this was my launching point for the lesson.
I challenged the kids to play through the game, recording notes in their books every time they lost customers. They were given no other input initially so that those precious “penny-drop” moments could take place when they came to realize what they were doing wrong.
The session lasted for just under an hour in total and we stopped every fifteen minutes or so to reflect on progress so far and share experiences.
About half way through I shared my own high score with them and saw the jaws drop. I then gave them a few tips for how to maximise profits and reduce the amount of customers leaving their restaurant hungry. My main piece of advice was to consider their own times tables strengths. If they were slower with their 7s and had pizzas priced at $7 then it would be tricky to calculate a customer’s bill quickly. I challenged them to try to think of other ways to streamline the selling part and make it easier to serve more customers quickly. One girl really impressed me with her initiative – she actually renamed her pizzas to match their cost! She then found it much easier when her customers came in asking for “3 sixes please.”
At the end of the session, the kids took some screenshots of their menu, graphs and scores then sent them to Dropbox for printing and insertion into their project books. Overall the session was a huge success and will no doubt become a core component of the project in the years to come.
P.S. Quotes from JESS Jumeirah Year 6 Students (ten/eleven year olds):
I loved using Motion Math Pizza as it was like being in a reel life situation. I’ve learnt that it’s much harder than I thought it was and I’m sure my tables are rock solid! If I were to rate this out of 5 I’d give it 5/5.
– Leiah Abercrombie
I liked the fact that you had to go and buy all the ingredients yourself and that you had a counter to type in how much the customers had to pay, which I don’t see very often on an app. I learnt that you can’t always satisfy all of your customers! This is the GREATEST app to learn business skills!
– Alix Pissaloux
Motion Math Pizza is a phenomenal game that teaches children how to run a successful business. I learnt lots about running a great business and I think this game will help me a lot in the real world. I rate this game *****
– Kyra Menezes
Motion Math Pizza is an amazing fun game. It’s is really good for practicing maths and learning how to deal with business. I got lots of thing wrong like raising the price of the pizzas too high and also I ran out of ingredients! I think this app is really great and I would give it a 10/10!
– Bronte Walker
Motion Math Pizza is a great app which allows you to experience a business style life. I really liked the fact that it was so realistic and fun. It taught me to get enough ingredients so you can never run out, also you should not waste too much time otherwise your customers might leave. This app was fantastic and really addictive. I rate this app 5/5.
– Neeta Quao
I like the app because it helped my business skills and it is very fun. I learnt how customers can leave if you are taking too long as they can lose their patience. I feel that this app is very useful and I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because it would be better if you added a setting that allowed you to change currency.
– Adam Mhedhabi
Motion Math Pizza was fun and educational! I learned that there are a lot of things you can do wrong like take too long and run out of ingredients. I rate this app 4 and a half stars. It was fantastic!!
– Lily Hardman