Damath is a board game that comes from the Philippines, and is used as a teaching tool for high school mathematics.
The game's name, “Damath,” comes from the popular board game “dama” and “mathematics.” It was invented by Jesus L. Huenda, a teacher in Sorsogon, who had encountered problems in teaching math using traditional teaching methods. Inspired in part by an investigatory project called “Dama de Numero” submitted by a student in 1975, Huenda overhauled the game and introduced it to his class, who enjoyed playing.
Damath grew in popularity so that by 1980, the first Damath tournament was held in Sorsogon. The next year, Huenda received a gold medallion from the late President Ferdinand Marcos for his contributions in the field of teaching mathematics.
The game reached its peak popularity in the 1990s, when it made the rounds of several mathematics education conventions all over the world such as the 10th Conference of the Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA), the UNESCO-ICT4E conference in Thailand, the SEAMEO RECSAM/SEAMEC conference in Malaysia, and the APEC Learning Community Builders (ALCoB) conference in Korea.
The Damath board, similar to a chess board, consists of 8 x 8 squares alternating in black and white. On the white squares are the four basic Mathematical operations--addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
There are two sets of twelve pieces for each player, marked with numbers from zero to eleven. Odd numbers are marked with negative signs and placed on the left side of the board while even numbers are positive and placed on the right. Numbers outside the playing squares act as guides to show the correct positioning of the pieces.
As the name implies, the game is essentially the same as dama but with an added math twist: in order to win in Damath, a player must score the most points which are earned by “eating” the opponent's pieces. In dama, the move ends there; in Damath, the player must solve the mathematical operation on the square in which the opponents piece is currently standing. The answer to that mathematical operation is the amount of points that the player will receive when s/he does “eat” the opponent's piece.
If the piece marked “-1” eats the piece marked “-3,” with “-3” standing on a multiplication square, the player must first solve the operation (-1 x -3 = 3) and will get three points. The game will go on until all pieces belonging to a player have been eaten and the scores computed.
Because of the need to solve operations, players must list down all moves during the game so the moves can be reviewed, especially by the judges in a tournament setting.
A computer version of Damath has been recently made available at the Bureau of Secondary Education website, where Huenda now works as a consultant. This version, named eDamath, can allow players either to compete against a computer or even against each other over a LAN network. The installer is only 7.2mb and compressed into a zip file.
- Math storytelling to encourage reading, math appreciation in public schools
- Electronic Software for Mathematics - Bureau of Secondary Education