Hello! I started playing MTG in 2014-2015, but only just returned to the game now (my boyfriend is a super fan!). I’ve fallen in love with the game, more-so than I did the first time.
I just finished my first (of two) years in a Bachelor of Education program, studying to become a teacher. As part of the program, we go into 3 different classrooms to practice our teaching. My next practicum is in a Grade 7 class, for 3 weeks in September and 10 weeks January to March.
In my province (I’m Canadian), the math curriculum for Grade 7 includes circle graphs and probability. I would love to incorporate MTG into some of my lessons — they’re 12-13 years old, that’s a good age, right? — but I’m worried that they’ll focus on the wrong things for the purposes of my lesson (the art, how to play, etc) or they’ll hate my lessons because they’re not relatable ... I’m thinking if I sneak other games into my other lessons, make games a theme of the week, then it might work.
Please let me know what you think! And if you do feel it’s a good idea, can you help me plot out some possible math lessons? (ie: how to use MTG information to teach circle graphs, probability, and other math concepts ... I have some ideas already, I’m just hoping for more, lol)
Thank you in advance!
The issue is twofold as I see it: 1) you're using something none of these children understand or have any connection to. Thus, the concept will likely be lost on them and it's much harder to keep a child's attention if it's not something they can relate to....and they won't be able to do that without understanding how the game works. This leaves you trying to teach them enough about the game, its backstory, etc and now you've found yourself completely off track 2) There are still religious nutjobs in the world who think Magic is some sort of satanic rite of passage. We live in a culture where anyone will find a reason to be offended by anything and you probably don't want to put yourself (or the school) in a position to deal with that sort of backlash.
I taught HS for ten years. I used games a bit (where I thought I could get away with it) and I thought it had potential to go further. I used MTG a bit (but in a Chemistry context - illustrating reaction mechanisms)and D&D some (the alignment plotting was particularly crunchy!) I think the Frank Karsten articles are going to be too deep for most 7th grade classrooms - he actually does some impressive stats crunch at times and I love his articles.
I think maybe you could start from a simpler perspective. A couple of illustrative questions might be "What percentage of the deck is lands?" and tie that to ratios (25/60 or 45/100) etcetera. Tie it in to your standards - I assume y'all have those up there, I am familiar with the American "system".
I never learned how to play Craps ... not worth learning then? Or just not as great as Magic?
Well, apparently people like losing money to it in casinos. Our teacher told us it was statistically the safest game to play in a casino, with a 49% chance in favor of the player and only a 51% chance in favor of the house. Just never captured my interest. MTG, on the other hand, has snared me for the past 16 years.
I am also a teacher, but I do not find a lot of good uses for magic in the classroom. That said, Magic can be a great way to get kids interested in spending more time in your classroom and is a nice way to hang after school for an hour or so with 5-6 kids and foster a connection which can make teaching easier.
As far as incorporating it into lessons, I think you'd be hard-pressed to make that effective for all students, because some people just don't dig MTG (for some reason).
I am a high school English teacher. I have not used Magic in the classroom for lessons, but we do have a Magic club that plays at the end of the day during homeroom. I wrote a piece in defense of Magic in a school setting that you can find here.