On being a Witzzle Pro 'pro'

On being a Witzzle Pro 'pro'

These two Harbins Elementary students are flexing their math muscles while they engage in a Witzzle Pro match.
So, what’s a witzzle and how do you get to be a pro at it? We went to Math Coach Suzanne Hood of Harbins Elementary for an explanation: “Witzzle Pro is a mental math game that’s fun to play and will test your knowledge of numbers and operations,” she says. “This game enhances problem-solving and mental math skills and can be played with a partner, a group, or at home for family fun.”

Instead of using traditional skill-and-drill methods, teachers use Witzzle Pro to reinforce basic facts and practice math operations in a way that engages students, and engaged students learn better and retain what they learn. Ms. Hood says, “A game application is a great way to prepare students for testing because it allows them to think critically and analyze different answers as they practice computation in a fun and exciting application.”

She notes that research finds that if children stay long enough with a task, then the information will be transferred to long-term memory. “Witzzle Pro keeps our kids interested, which results in long-term memory of those basic facts, number sense, and operations,” says Ms. Hood. “This results in higher test scores and continuing success in a student’s mathematical career.”

Harbins Elementary has used the game for several years and sees definite academic benefits. “We are seeing an increase in CogAT (cognitive abilities test) scores,” Ms. Hood says. “And we know this is one component of our math instruction which has resulted in students’ increased ability to think critically in mathematics.”

Here’s how to play
Each player gets a Witzzle Pro card consisting of a 3x3 grid with the numbers 1 through 9 arranged in the grid. The student rolls the dice to find a target number. The student takes three numbers from his grid— either a vertical, diagonal, or horizontal row— and creates an equation using those numbers and basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to make a sum equal to the target number. For example, with a target number of 24 and a row of numbers 1, 5, and 6, the equation might look like this: (5-1) x 6 = 24. Of course, a player could use that same row to get to a target number of 25 with (6-1) x 5 or a target of 0 with the equation of 5+1-6. You get the idea. That’s Witzzle Pro! Click here for the rules and here for a demonstration.

Depending on the age and math abilities of the player, the game has seven levels of difficulty. More advanced math students get some early experience with algebraic concepts and explore negative numbers. No matter the child’s ability level, the game enhances both mental math and problem-solving skills and helps children develop higher-level thinking skills.