Creativity and Innovation

Gamifying collaborative problem-solving in Year 6 Mathematics
Russel McCool

Gamification has the power to transform the way we teach and the way we learn.’ Matera, 2015


Gamification is a growing trend that uses game based elements in non-game contexts such as classrooms. As part of an action research project, my question was How does gamification leverage Year 6 boys’ collaborative problem-solving skills in Mathematics? The context for this research was based on teaching a class of Year 6 boys collaborative problem-solving skills. Data analyses identified clearly how gamification strengthened interdependencies on how students use explicitly taught collaborative skills and problem-solving skills through applying such skills to what they were learning.

This session will describe both the processes of how collaborative skills were taught and how gamification was introduced as part of the teaching framework for problem-solving. Four themes were central to the success of this project:

  1.   Structured face-to-face interactions improved student interactions
  2.   Positive interdependence promotes learning through others
  3.   Interpersonal skills allow for the intersection of other minds
  4.   Gamification / competition heightens students’ use of collaborative skills

Participants in the session will receive access to resources used in the action research project, links to resources on gamification and collaborative learning techniques.


Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Gamification and game-inspired course design to engage, enrich and elevate your learners. San Diego, David Burgess Publishing.

IBSC (n.d.). What is action research? Retrieved from


Russel is currently a Year 5 teacher at The King’s School Preparatory School. He has been teaching upper primary classes for 21 years. Previously a professional cricketer, Russel is father of a daughter aged 9 and a son aged 5 years. A lifelong learner, Russel left a career in finance with Ford and General Motors before becoming an educator. He has taught overseas at international schools, Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School and Knox Grammar School.