The Wrangler

Video Game Developed to Help Students Understand Calculus

Considering+this+is+an+educational+game%2C+the+graphics+are+rather+impressive.+Photo+courtesy+of+Variant.
Considering this is an educational game, the graphics are rather impressive. Photo courtesy of Variant.

Considering this is an educational game, the graphics are rather impressive. Photo courtesy of Variant.

Considering this is an educational game, the graphics are rather impressive. Photo courtesy of Variant.

Christian Muresan, Photojournalist

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Earlier this year, a video game was created that helps students understand calculus more easily. Since calculus is one of the more difficult academic courses offered in college and high school, this game could help students at Yorba Linda High School pass their AP calculus courses and start preparing for math in college. This game has the potential to reshape the future of how students learn math in school.

The name of this video game is “Variant” and it thoroughly teaches students calculus as they play the game. The man who developed this game, Andre Thomas, is a professor at Texas A&M, who tried to create an easier way for his students to learn calculus. His inspiration was aided by his past expertise in computer graphics, as he has worked in graphic design for the past 20 years (Inside Higher Ed).

Students at Yorba Linda High School may benefit from this game as well, since many upperclassmen take either calculus AB or calculus BC. If given enough opportunity, this game could lead to some astonishing results in how effectively calculus is taught and learned at YLHS.

When asked to comment about the possibility of integrating this sort of program at Yorba Linda High School and if it would be beneficial to the students, Payton Janish (11) thinks that, “A video game designed to teach calculus would be a great way to educate students who are not usually interested in math.” This brings an interesting thought to the teaching process of most teachers. While many students are not curious to learn more about math, they may not have the right tools to be motivated in the first place. Games and programs like Variant could be one of the tools that students are missing.

Student perspective plays a major role in their motivation to learn. If students are tired of listening to a teacher lecture a math course for an hour each day, then perhaps this unorthodox method of education could prove itself to be valid. A slight paradigm shift on both parts of the student and teacher could yield a new wave of technology influencing our education system.

Though this is not the first learning game that has been developed, it is one of the most mathematically advanced learning games available at this time. With an increasingly growing market for technology, more programs like Variant could arise and change the learning process for the future.

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Video Game Developed to Help Students Understand Calculus