How to retrieve and retain math knowledge with Kahoot!

Math teacher, influencer, and kahoot creator extraordinaire Cathy Yenca – or Mathy Cathy, as she’s known in the education world – explores how she uses Kahoot! in her math class to retrieve and retain knowledge.

February 12, 2018

Even though it’s a bit cliche, it’s still true that it’s up to YOU how fun and efficient Kahoot! is for your students. When used at the right time, strategically and effectively, Kahoot! can do wonders in your class, and kids won’t even realize they’re learning!

The time countdown and competitive spirit definitely get everyone fired up, but in a math class, be careful to not rush the game. My tip would be – don’t reinforce fast math. Instead, leave enough time between questions to discuss and analyze responses. This is important to retrieve and retain knowledge, instead of just putting lots of info into learners’ heads.

Cathy Yenca's students in math class

Analyze student answers in real-time as part of retrieval practice

Have you heard of retrieval practice? It’s a useful studying method that involves recreating something you’ve learned in the past from your memory. If you practice retrieval you’re more likely to retain the info and remember it later, and also more likely to be able to apply that knowledge in new situations.

A game of kahoot works great for retrieval practice in math classes. To make the best of it, remember take a step back and analyze how students are performing during the kahoot, so as to keep focus and direction. Let students test their own ability to understand, apply, and retain concepts. Check the real-time results to see if there is a gap in understanding. Pausing between questions also opens up valuable opportunity for debate and discussion.

Cathy Yenca playing Kahoot! with her math students

Calling all Texan math teachers! Try my TEKS-aligned kahoots

Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with Kahoot! Studio, Kahoot!’s service that offers ready-to-play, curriculum-aligned games for teachers. I’ve worked on creating math content that I know works perfectly in the classroom setting: from the alignment with the standards, to the specific graphs and diagrams on display, and to the pace and timing of the questions. I know this because I test all kahoots I create with my own students in our classrooms – in fact, it’s the most rewarding part of my endeavors.

If lack of time stops you from playing Kahoot! more often in class – here’s a solution! Pick one of these ready-to-play math quizzes I created with Kahoot! Studio. They cover Algebra TEKS 1 and there’ll be plenty more coming soon.

These games show math visually and conceptually to scaffold and lead up to the more “typical” math questions. I’m hoping to model, through these kahoots, not only questioning for students, but food for thought pedagogically for teachers, too.

Math collection. Image credits: CC0
  • 3.6K Plays
  • 80K players

Algebra: Solve Quadratic Equations

Solve quadratic equations having real solutions by factoring, taking square roots, and completing the square. Based on TEKS standard A.8(A).

Math collection. Image credits: Unsplash
  • 2.8K Plays
  • 68.7K players

Algebra: Multiply Polynomials

Multiply polynomials of degree one and degree two including special cases. Based on TEKS standard A .10(B).

You can read more about retrieval practice and Cathy’s collaboration with Kahoot! Studio in the recent article on her blog.

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