Photo by Steve Auslander

A Math Arcade in Indianapolis, IN

Mr. Auslander’s 5th graders have figured out a way to make state test prep a little more exciting. The class lobbied their teacher to let them build their own cardboard arcade and decided to create games that were not just fun but also helped them to review everything they’d learned in math over the school year. How’d they do it? Read Mr. A’s notes and watch their video below!

The Basics:

“My name is Steve Auslander. I teach fifth grade in Indianapolis. After watching Caine’s Arcade, the video, for homework, my students campaigned to create their own arcade. I was all for it! I decided to tie it to our state test, ISTEP. Students in my class created ISTEP math review questions and found the answers. Then, after building, we invited a fellow fifth grade class to play our arcade. Instead of using tokens (or fun passes), students needed to solve ISTEP questions in order to play various arcade games.”


“…I broke the kids into groups of two. Each group tackled a chapter from the math textbook. They were to select problems from the book and write them (or ones similar) onto index cards. Then, they showed their work on scratch paper, agreed on answers, and put answer keys on the backs of the index cards. That afternoon, students designed their arcade games (but they were thinking about them for a while). Over the weekend they gathered materials (although cardboard had been slowly streaming in for 10 days) and after the weekend they built. I gave them all Tuesday and part of Wednesday to build. Wednesday during Math we passed question cards around to check that the answer keys were correct.Finally, we opened for business and invited Mr. B’s class to play. Tomorrow afternoon we are going to take turns playing and running our games at the end of the day.”

Watch Their Video:

(Author’s note: I had the pleasure of Skype with Mr. Auslander’s 5th graders last week – an amazingly bright group who were already plotting all the projects they were going to work on this summer — including a cardboard hovercraft and an electric lemonade stand!)