University News

Western Provides After School Math Games to Peoria Students

March 29, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Students in Peoria Public School Extended Day programs have been playing online computer games as a fun way to improve their math skills. Five middle schools in Peoria are using the After School Math Games program, an Internet environment created at Western Illinois University, to provide online math games for their students.

Jim Olsen, WIU associate math professor, and Jessica Denna, a 2005 math education alumna, developed the program in 2003. It was first used in the Macomb After School Program, and due to its success several Peoria schools adopted the updated program.

This school year Calvin Coolidge, Lindbergh, Sterling, Loucks, and White Middle Schools are using the updated program. The program lasts six days and is usually spread over several weeks. Each day students play two interactive math games lasting about 15 minutes each.

“This is great way to get students engaged with interactive learning activities to improve mathematical skills and reasoning. We have found that computer labs which may be in use during the day are often available during after school hours,” Olsen said.

In Fall 2005, Olsen began working with Melissa Patterson, a junior math major (Alexis, IL), to update the web site and prepare the directions so that the program could be used by teachers on site and without direct assistance.

“We are happy to report that the teachers in the Extended Day program were able to effectively use the program and that the games were enjoyed by the students,” Olsen said.

To view a demo of the games used by students, visit the After School Math Games website at For more information, contact Olsen at 309/298-1466 or email

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