# Nintendo Wii Golf Subtraction

We had fun today using Wii Sports Golf during our maths lesson. This week the children have been practising different written methods of subtraction and today we repeated the Wii idea from last year.

After doing some recapping of the compact method of written subtraction we worked as a whole class with the game. Each child was at their tables with a whiteboard and pen.

• Start by making a note of the length of the hole you are about to play (A). This appears at the top right hand corner when you are teeing off. Get the class to write this down.
• We had a 4 player round to generate lots of questions to practice.
• Choose someone to come out and tee off. When their ball comes to a rest it will show how far to the hole (B). It does not show the length of their shot – so complete the subtraction with the class A – B = C (shot length)
• We repeated this for the other three players.
• As you get your different shot lengths (4 in our case) you are presented with lots of opportunities, such as ordering the shots from longest to shortest, how much further was ? then ? – we used some of these with the whole class after the first group of shots were made.
• With the longer holes you may be able to get another calculation from the 2nd shot – but most of the time the second shot will sail over the hole. This makes it a bit tricky to calculate shot length.

Another direction you could take the game in a maths lesson is to plan for ordering decimals. When the ball lands on the green the game displays how many metres/yards to the pin (hole). It will show it to one decimal place. With four players hitting the green then you have the option of trying to order 4 different distances.

WiiMaths is created by Tristan Methers with funding from the Victorian Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development as part of the Knowledge Bank Next Generation Research Projects. Tristan outlines the investigation into positive and negative numbers in the game of golf and explains:

In Golf names are given for the  number of stokes taken on each hole. If you score the expected amount for a hole that is called a Par. If you get a stoke over the expected amount that is called a Bogey and one stoke under the expected amount is called a Birdie. The number of  stokes under and over and their names are in the table below:
ALBATROSS               -3
EAGLE                        -2
BIRDIE                         -1
PAR                               0
BOGEY                       +1
DOUBLE BOGEY       +2
TRIPLE BOGEY         +3
Golf is a very mathematical game, from the distance to the pin,  angles of shots, wind speed and so on. The first task of the students is to while a  person/persons place a game of Wii Golf, they are to look for all of the maths that is being used in the game. In my class we came up with 8.
After listing these, the students are then given a verbal 9/18 hole golf course to solve and come up with a final score, linking the naming of the stokes to the total score:
Example:  Hole 1  – Eagle
Hole 2 – Bogey
Hole 3 – Par

In Golf names are given for the  number of strokes taken on each hole. If you score the expected amount for a hole that is called a Par. If you get a stroke over the expected amount that is called a Bogey and one stroke under the expected amount is called a Birdie. The number of  strokes under and over and their names are in the table below:

• ALBATROSS  -3
• EAGLE  -2
• BIRDIE  -1
• PAR 0
• BOGEY +1
• DOUBLE BOGEY +2
• TRIPLE BOGEY +3

The students are then given a verbal 9/18 hole golf course to solve and come up with a final score, linking the naming of the strokes to the total score:

Example:

• Hole 1  – Eagle
• Hole 2 – Bogey
• Hole 3 – Par

I think that this is a good example of explaining the maths behind the scoring system itself and would allow a class or small group to practice +ve and -ve numbers in an engaging way.

Why bother?

This games based approach to maths engages the children. It certainly engages my class. They asked me to do some more in the afternoon. More written subtraction! They are switched on by the use of the game and enjoy the challenge of the maths that we packaged up within it. With some successful baseball addition earlier this week too, it is proving effective to use Wii games in this single lesson role.

Are the children better at subtraction because of the game?

Crucially we were able to practice and refine our calculations over a more sustained period in the lesson due to the game. The same occurred with the baseball addition earlier this week. Children were happy to work hard on the maths for longer due to the involvement of the game. If use of the game is combined with solid, clear and supported teaching of the written methods beforehand then it can raise the standard of work in the classroom.

Please share with me any other ways you have used Wii games in support of your maths lessons, as I am always on the look out for more ideas.

(Pic “dangerous walk” by

## 2 thoughts on “Nintendo Wii Golf Subtraction”

1. I used the Beatles Rock Band game for the Wii as our “Fun Friday” activity a couple of weeks ago. I had been thinking about using it or Guitar Hero for reading, but wasn’t sure how to work it all out.

It worked great. My lowest English Language Learners were singing like crazy, reading the words faster and more fluently than they do with any of the reading I’ve seen them do this year. It may have helped that we listen to the songs all the time and I had them read print outs of the lyrics before we started.

Also, I made students sing before they could play the guitar. That got a lot of groans, but once they started singing, some of them wanted to just sing instead of play the guitar.

2. I think this is a tremendous idea. Not only does it engage the students due to it being a video game but learning subtraction might be the last thing they’re thinking about during this lesson so it’s not like they’d daydream during many, standard lessons. All they want to do is get up there and hit the ball!

Fantastic idea. I look forward to trying something like this in my own classroom one day.