Pipestone Star Article

Pipestone Star Article for Who’s Counting™

By Kyle Kuphal (February 17, 2012)


Local teacher publishes educational math game

For original article:  http://www.pipestonestar.com/Stories/Story.cfm?SID=35135


Math is hard. And the old model of drill-and-kill style for teaching does not work for every student.

That is part of what led Pipestone Area Schools teacher Craig Boeddeker to create an original educational card game called Who’s Counting™. This game helps children learn elementary math in a way that makes it entertaining and exciting.

“It was important for me to try to find some resource that would enable my students to participate in multiple constructions and reconstructions of such things as a simple math sentence,” Boeddeker stated. “To get them engaged in those, rather than it simply being drill and practice.”
That concept eventually resulted withthe idea of inventing a fun game that was “first and foremost educational, but equally as captivating” as commercial games including UNO, Monopoly or Risk, Boeddeker said.

In the game that resulted, Boeddeker said he is certain “those elements exist.”
The game includes cards with numbers and the math symbols for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Players use the numbers and symbols to get the highest score possible with a hand of seven cards.

Red “special cards” let players take away their opponent’s score, turn it negative, or steal some or all of their opponent’s points for themselves during any hand. The game is also enhanced by blue “special cards” that can double a player’s score, wildcards that can be used as numbers or operations, cards that award a player an extra turn and cards that reverse or stop an opponent’s red cards.
Boeddeker said he incorporates games into his teaching throughout his 13-year career as a way to connect with his students.

The idea for Who’s Counting™ was conceived on pages of notes that Boeddeker still has; came to life on recipe cards that he started using in his classroom five years ago; and ultimately matured into printed cards that he designed on his computer and had printed at a print shop.
In January, Who’s Counting™ advanced to publication by Teacher’s Professional Resource, LLC. out of Lakewood, Colorado, a “community of highly creative educators, designers, artists, and storytellers who have made it their mission to banish boredom from the classroom one fabulous idea at a time.”
Boeddeker was recommended to the publisher a few years ago by Caroline Marion, a former PAS teacher, who had developed and published some learning tools of her own and whose sister-in-law founded Teacher’s Professional Resource.

The publisher kept the game largely as Boeddeker designed it and added a creative story line of the Whozits — “a society based entirely on math” where “the math teachers are among the most revered of citizens.” As the Whozit story goes, one Whozit’s math error in a lab led to the creation of the damaging Green Goo and the only way to stop the goo and save the Whozits is by playing Who’s Counting™.

Who’s Counting™ is intended for players ages eight to adult and recommended for play by two or three people, or six players in teams of two. You can purchase Who’s Counting™ online at www.teachersprofessionalresource.com and Amazon.com, and Boeddeker said the publisher is working to put it on the shelves in retail outlets like Barnes & Noble and Marbles. Boeddeker is also hoping to sell the game at local stores in the near future.

While Who’s Counting™ is Boeddeker’s first published product, he is already excitedly working on a new addition called Who’s Connecting that will involve geometric concepts.
Boeddeker was also invited by Debra Hansen, Teacher’s Professional Resource CEO, to speak at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) Minnesota conference in Duluth in May 2012— an honor that was bestowed upon his daughter, Erin Lindsay, who is also a math teacher. He said he plans to talk about using a variety of teaching methods to meet the learning needs of all students equally, which is exactly the idea that launched Who’s Counting™.

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