WWC review of this study

Impact of Math Snacks Games on Students' Conceptual Understanding

Winburg, Karin; Chamberlain, Barbara; Valdez, Alfred; Trujillo, Karen; Stanford, Theodore B. (2016). Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, v35 n2 p173-193. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1095367

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: March 2021

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Number and Operations outcomes—Substantively important positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Measure of Mathematics Learning II (MML II)

Math Snacks vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
741 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

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    New Mexico
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


The study was conducted in the fall of 2013 and in the spring of 2014 in a low-income, urban school district in southern New Mexico.

Study sample

The study included 48 teachers (25 in the intervention group and 23 in the comparison group) and 741 students (361 in the intervention group and 380 in the comparison group). The students were mostly Hispanic (75 percent), with 24 percent Caucasian and 1 percent Other. The authors do not specify the proportions of students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch, but refer to the school district as low-income. The study authors do not provide any further details about the sample’s characteristics.

Intervention Group

The Math Snacks intervention is comprised of six animations and five games. The students in the study played four of the five games: Monster Schoolbus, Gate, Ratio Rumble, and Game Over Gopher. In addition to using the four games, teachers engaged with students in guided discussions and led students in additional inquiry-based activities related to gameplay. The protocol for each Math Snacks game included: a gameplay session with group discussion (30 – 40 minutes), hands-on activities related to gameplay (30 – 40 minutes), and a second gameplay session with a final discussion (30 – 40 minutes). Students received Math Snacks for a total of six to eight hours of classroom instruction during the five weeks of intervention, in addition to the regular district mathematics curriculum. Students were also encouraged to use the games and materials outside of class. Students in the intervention group played games over 74 days and spent 4 hours and 53 minutes in games).

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group received the regular district mathematics curriculum (business-as-usual) during the five-week period that the intervention group received the Math Snacks intervention. After the five weeks were completed in Phase I and the Phase I outcome data were collected, the students in the comparison group received the Math Snacks intervention.

Support for implementation

Math Snacks is a free resource that is available online and includes supporting instructional materials, like teacher and learner guides, how-to videos, and comic book transcripts. The intervention is available in English and Spanish, and the learner guide includes support for English learners. No other support for implementation was provided by the study team or the Math Snacks developer for this study.


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