Uplands Park Elementary SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

I. General Information

School Name: Uplands Park Elementary

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members: Brooke Spillman: brooke.spillman@sd68.bc.ca (not at Uplands next year), Andrea Wellwood: awellwood@sd68.bc.ca (not at Uplands next year), Laurie Dyck: ldyck@sd68.bc.ca, Judy Jordan: jjordan@sd68.bc.ca, Danielle Chaisson: danielle.chaisson@sd68.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Email: brooke.spillman@sd68.bc.ca

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Mathematics / Numeracy

Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Can the use of numeracy-based games be used as a differentiation strategy.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: They were focused on the skill building and healthy competition. It was helpful because it reinforced the basic skills of the math curriculum. We noticed that our most vulnerable students were more engaged, more successful and considered it fun as opposed to a daunting task. We made all the activities and games hands-on learning as that supports Indigenous learning and skill-building. We made it skill-based small groups as it gave instant feedback to our students, as opposed to waiting for a worksheet to be marked.

Focus: As a group we noticed the high use of worksheets in our classrooms. We wanted to explore how the use of games for numeracy could support with increased student engagement, motivation and acquisition of foundational math skills. We were hoping to see students feeling more confident with their numeracy skills in addition to strengthening their use of math vocabulary. We also wanted to see students using different skills related to play, such as turn-taking and problem solving.


  • High use of worksheets/photocopying
  • Low numeracy scores especially with basic foundational math skills
  • Students lack of engagement, confidence and motivation with math

New Professional Learning:

  • Carole Fullerton materials and workshops
  • Box Cars and One-eyed Jacks resources
  • Literature review
  • Collaboration amongst team members and other additional members of the school was supportive for the learning
  • Using the games in the classroom, but also taking the time to go over instructions ahead of time with group members was particularly helpful

Taking Action: We had frequent meetings to check-in and see how everyone was feeling about the different games. We chatted about ways we modified or differentiated the games to reach all of our learners. We incorporated different dice and card games to extend games to reach wider skill levels. We organized all games into grade specific bins for storing which included class sets of cards, dice, white boards, etc.

Checking: Students and staff were more motivated to use the games. Students appeared engaged and happy to play the games versus endless worksheets. In some cases, students preferred the games instead of online math games.

Reflections/Advice: Ideally, it would be good to get the whole school on board with this project to make a bigger (potential) impact. Next steps would be to further develop the bins that were created to house the games. We had also discussed including picture books related to Carole Fullerton lessons and additional vocabulary building activities. The collaborative meetings were crucial for deciding on next steps, what worked and what didn’t, etc. Exploring how to best store and sign out materials is something to also consider.