I had read about the idea of using Mario and Sonic at London 2012 a few months ago in Teach Primary in an article by Ollie Bray. As my experience with the Wii games based learning had only really been around Endless Ocean, I was keen to try something new. I have had the game for a while, but had not found a use for it. Whatever we did with it would need to enhance the teaching and add context to a concept, rather than being at tenuous add on for the sake of it.
Then, last week we were looking at decimal numbers, placing these on a number line, rounding them to the nearest whole number and partitioning them into tenths, hundredths and thousandths. But numbers like 7.089 may still not make any sense or have much relevance to a year six chid, despite encountering them earlier in the school.
Flicking through the screens of Mario and Sonic I found the context in the Long Jump screen. This displayed a league table of scores, each with three numbers after the decimal point. So as a mental starter, a few children were chosen to take the challenge of the long jump and see of they could beat the record of around 8.087metres. This provided a fantastically authentic context to then round the numbers, as we asked if Sonic/Tails, Mario had landed closer to 5 or 6 for example and why. We also then plotted the scores on a number line, in the same way the officials at the Olympic park might have done, though they probably would not have used post its. I am still looking for other authentic,meaningful and manageable uses for this and other games in my class and would love to hear your ideas.