‘Happy Maths’ is a research project on serious games, which was driven by ADAPT researchers Dr Pierpaolo Dondio and Dr Mariana Rocha at TU Dublin from 2019-2021.
Happy Maths develops games which aim to help students overcome Maths Anxiety (defined as “a debilitating negative emotional reaction towards mathematics”) in primary school students using game-based learning. Affecting 1 in 6 students, this condition affects more girls than boys, thereby worsening gender inequality in STEM education.
The project team has developed two educational games, which it piloted through workshops in primary schools and public libraries during 2019.
Evaluation of these workshops revealed that the games can enhance problem solving skills and reduce anxiety relating to the learning of Mathematics.
Secret of Kells – Codes and Ciphers Workshop
In response to the pandemic in 2020, the Happy Maths team developed the ‘Secret of Kells – Codes and Ciphers’ workshop which was delivered to primary school classes remotely via Zoom. During the workshop, the players were challenged to crack a number of codes to find out who stole the Book of Kells from Trinity College Dublin. The workshop was designed to demonstrate the links between codes, ciphers, and data encryption which is used to protect users’ personal data. Secret of Kells workshops also ran with ADAPT support in 2021.
The learning process involved in the Happy Maths games helps to give meaning to Mathematics and leads the player to reflect on the importance and beauty of Maths.
Visit the Happy Maths website to find out more about the project and its games.
Watch the Irish Universities’ Association Changemakers video on Happy Maths.
For workshop information or to register your school’s interest, please contact the TU Dublin team directly