Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 1:45pm

A Mercy College professor has removed one more barrier for people who claim to hate math. He’s invented a card game designed to sharpen basic math skills while having fun.

 

Easow Mathew, Ph.D., a member of the adjunct faculty in math and physics who also specializes in using interactive approaches to improve teaching and learning, developed SuperMath 48, a table top card game published this summer by The Game Crafter, a web-to-print game publishing company.

 

“My research focus is on exploring ways to improve the teaching of physics,” says Mathew. Throughout his many years of teaching high school and college math and physics — subjects that students often have difficulty grasping and learning — he would often experiment with new ways to help students become more interested, even excited, about math, a key component to understanding physics.

 

It took about two years to fully develop SuperMath 48. Recalling a card game he played as a child that required a certain amount of math skill, Mathew set to work creating a game that would be fun and instructive, and could be played by all ages.

 

But are board games still relevant and popular? Mathew says yes. “Many people enjoy the chance to play a game with physical objects like cards and game pieces. It also strengthens your knowledge of math. You need a certain amount of comprehension to play, and you get better the more you play.”

 

Experts agree, citing the booming board game industry as digital natives seek more interpersonal leisure activities. According to Inverse.com, a digital media company covering technology, science and cultural topics for a millennial audience, the recent surge in enthusiasm for board and card games can be attributed in part to the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons. With the renewed interest in word and number puzzles, coupled with the fact that video games have mainstreamed the idea of adult gaming, “there has never been a better time to make a board game.”

 

Mercy College students and faculty may get their chance to discover SuperMath 48 this fall, when Mathew will be teaching on the Dobbs Ferry Campus. He, along with Math Program Head Charles Li, Ph.D., are planning to approach student groups like the Math Club, and possibly the School of Education, for opportunities to demonstrate the game and discuss how it might be used in teaching math. Mathew is currently working on another educational table top game, focused on physics, which he expects to be published next year.

 

SuperMath 48 can be adapted for younger children by limiting the number of cards and removing the division and multiplication cards as necessary. Mathew says he is confident the game will appeal to children as young as eight years: “I taught the game to my grandson Francis, a third grader, and we play it all the time.”