Nintendo DS games used in pioneering primary school
COMPUTER games are being used by primary school children in a pioneering bid to improve their maths skills.
Thirty of the latest Nintendo DSis have been bought by Woodmancote Primary School for young pupils to use in their lessons.
The Station Road school is one of the first in the county to use the handheld games console as part of the curriculum.
Children in Years 5 and 6 have been using the software to complete challenging levels of calculations, additions and times tables.
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One challenge involves pupils filling in the gaps after being presented with a list of times tables with some sections missing.
Deputy headteacher Duncan De Gruchy said: "One of the best features on the Nintendos is you can do a daily test on them.
"There is also a facility which allows up to 16 pupils to compete against each other on the same test. That really seems to encourage them and gets them engaging with maths."
Mr De Gruchy said the school was only using the software for maths lessons, but he said staff were exploring its uses for other areas of the curriculum. It originally invested in six consoles in January but has increased this to 30 with Government funding.
The initiative has cost the school in the region of £3,000.
Mr De Gruchy said the Nintendos may be used by more classes in the future.
He said: "In just a short space of time, we have seen a massive improvement in the ability to recall quick and accurate maths.
"We believe that more of these would be extremely beneficial in classes."
About six schools in Gloucestershire are pioneering the project.
Mr De Gruchy said: "We meet regularly and swap feedback and talk about what has worked and what hasn't."
Year 6 pupil Grace Merry, 10, is so impressed she is putting the Nintendo on her Christmas list.
She said: "It is fun and the teacher can ask us a question and we answer it on the game.
"My favourite is the daily test which has flash cards and subtraction sums.
"It is the first time I have used one and I really love it. It makes the maths lessons interesting."
Headteacher Gary Tucker, said confidence in maths skills has soared since the computer games were brought in.
He added: "Children are so apt with computers and technology. Many pupils have these consoles outside of school, so are familiar with their workings.
"Confidence in their maths skills has been more apparent since this initiative. Pupils are even buying the games and playing them at home, therefore bringing maths alive."