2018 CUNY Games Conference Call for Proposals is Open!!

The CUNY Games Network of the City University of New York is excited to announceThe CUNY Games Conference 4.0: The Interactive Course to be held on January 22 and 23, 2018 at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City.

The CUNY Games Conference is a two-day event to promote and discuss game-based pedagogies in higher education. The first day of the conference focuses on interactive presentations, and the second day consists of low-key game design, playtesting, and game play.

Game-based pedagogy incorporates some of the best aspects of collaborative, active, and inquiry-based learning. With the growing maturity of game-based learning in higher education, the focus has shifted from whether games are appropriate for higher education to how games can be best used to bring real pedagogical benefits and encourage student-centered education. The CUNY Games Network is dedicated to encouraging research, scholarship, and teaching in this developing field. We aim to bring together all stakeholders: faculty, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and game designers. Both CUNY and non-CUNY participation is welcome.

Our Call for Proposals is now open! Proposals are due on November 1, 2017. Please forward far and wide!

Who we are: The CUNY Games Network is composed of over 100 educators from a wide range of CUNY campuses and disciplines. Our members are interested in games, simulations, and other forms of interactive teaching. We seek to facilitate the pedagogical uses of both digital and non-digital games in higher education and to encourage research and scholarship in the dynamic and growing field of game-based learning. Our steering committee consists of a multi-disciplinary group of CUNY faculty and staff.

Questions? Get in touch at contactcunygames@gmail.com!

Tweeting about the conference? The hashtag is #cgc2018

Click here for more information.

Coin Games

This game is a fun way to practice word problems for systems of equations. I usually have my students play the game in math 051 or 056 after learning systems of equations. It makes a great test or quiz review game.

How to play:

  1. Pass out envelopes with coins inside. Each envelope has an algebra problem on it. I like to have every group do the same problem at the same time, so I warn them not to talk too loud about the problem that they get.
  2. Each groups tries to solve the problem written on the envelope, making sure each member in the group understands how to do the problem.
  3. Once they think they have solved the problem, I let them open the envelope while I watch *if* every person in the group understands the problem.
  4. I use real coins. I let the winning team keep the coins if they want to.
  5. The best part is the bonus round, where teams make up their own problems for another team to solve. I would love to mod this so this is the first round.

Here are some examples of the problems I use. Or you can go to the word file, coin-game.

Do NOT Open the envelope until you have solved the problem!

This envelope contains pennies and dimes.
The number of pennies IS 6 more than the number of nickels.
The total amount of money in the envelope is $0.50.
If you solved the problem correctly, KEEP the money. If you did not solve it correctly, GIVE BACK the money.
Either way, go on to the next envelope!

Do NOT Open the envelope until you have solved the problem!
This envelope contains pennies and nickels.
The total number of coins (pennies and nickels) IS 15.
The total amount of money in the envelope is $0.35.
If you solved the problem correctly, KEEP the money. If you did not solve it correctly, GIVE BACK the money.
Either way, go on to the next envelope!

Bonus Round – Double your money!!!
Put some of your money in this envelope, and write a word problem for it, here:
Ø This envelope contains _____ and ________.
Ø The….
Ø The total amount of money in the envelope is ______.
Give the envelope to another group.
If the other group solves your d the problem correctly, you get double the money you gave them,

Mad Math, or Math Libs


Did you ever play Mad Libs? I loved to play this game on long car rides when I was a kid. You could get books of them in the drug store, and best of all, your parents didn’t mind spending the money to get you a whole package, because it was “educational”!

Now the game has a new online incarnation: http://www.madlibs.com/, and you can even find an app to play it.

In Mad Libs there is a leader, who asks everyone else to give them words to fill in the blanks — but the leader does not tell the rest of the group the story until all the blanks have been filled in! Once the blanks are all filled in, the leader reads the story to much hilarity.

I created my own story, with a twist — it has numbers at the end that students also have to fill in. When my students finish reading out the story, they also read out and do the problems they have created. The particular problems you’ll see below involve factoring, but could be changed to suit any topic. The great thing about this game is that it brings in topics from English (interdisciplinary!) and story telling. It gets students laughing and more ready to do the problems, and it allows students to create their own problems.

Mad Math: Factoring Frenzy


  • The group leader does not show the group this piece of paper!
  • The leader asks each person in the group in turn to contribute a word, letter or number until all the blanks are filled in, including the number blanks for the factoring problems.
  • If a person gets stuck on a word, they can use one of the ones on the board.
  • Then the leader reads the story and the group works out the problems.

My ___________ subway ride started when a giant  ___________   _____________ up from the subway               adjective                                                                    animal         verb ending in –ed               

and into the ____ train.  People were  ___________, but I got a ___________, so I was ___________.

                  letter                                    verb ending in –ing               noun                                adjective

When I got to school, my ___________ professor would not ___________my excuse and said that if

                                                       adjective                                        verb

was late one more time, I would get a ____. What a ___________ day! Luckily, I found out that if I could

                                                               letter                    adjective

do these ___________ factoring problems, everything would be ___________!

                   adjective                                                                                 adjective

Factor:                             Caution: one of the problems is not factorable!


  1. x2 + 3x___                                             2.  x2 –  ___x + 25                                 3.  x2 + 12x +  ___

an integer between 3 and 5          an  integer between 9 and 11      a perfect square betw 30 &40

 4. x2 – ___                                                16x2 –  ___                                6. x2 +  ___

any perfect square                              an odd perfect square                              any perfect square 

Bonus: change the problem that is not factorable into one that is.

The word file here: mad-math-example gives you a better copy, plus some signs I made up to put around the room so that students would know what an adjective, adverb and noun were.

I invented this game at a What’s Your Game Plan workshop, with the help of Joe Bisz, Carlos Hernandez and Francesco Crocc. Much thanks, you guys!

Educators coming together to explore how the principles of games promote learning

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