Math Principles of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

I am laying on my bed on a Friday night avoiding sonic booms from this giant bird creature (Qurupeco). Every time I get close to it I have to make sure that my blades are properly sharpened such that when I am able to reach it after it attempts to blow me away with its gust that my blades can actually penetrate its hide. After the gust , the Qurupeco spreads its wings and its throat nearly triples in size as it bellows a screech that halts me in my steps. Next thing I see is a magenta and purple dinosaur (Great Jaggi) running from another size of the field I am in. So while I am trying to attack the Qurupeco, this Great Jaggi attacks me taking and I change my attention. 

Didn't see this coming

I have to watch for how it tilts its head, as that indicates he is either going to swing his tail or head in my direction. It yells loudly and its children come to attack me once it sends off this signal. I have lost sight of the Quruperco now and this battle is now about preventing this Great Jaggi from interrupting the original hunt. I notice that every time it yells it stays stagnant, that means I can attack with the the sharpened blades, unleashing my combo. Once it does that, I have to evade its attacks and wait for it to expose itself once again.  Or I can be bold and try to get behind it to unleash any attacks. My patience is rewarded and I become able to carve this monster. I pick up its great frill and its hide. Both of which I need in order to improve the dual blades I have from the in-town smith. I spend the next few minutes trying to find the Qureperco I was trying to find the bird.

I start running out of time , as there is only a 50 minute time limit. I run through a couple of different zones and I finally see it again. However my impatience causes me not  value the details. So while I saw that he was lighting a spark with his claws, I was too busy trying to apply damage and I get burned when he jumps at me with his claws. I then realize that my sword has become dull, and I can't afford to apply whetstone back to my sword as I leave myself open for another attack. I would have to hide, I can't hide though, the time is passing by.  I decide to try to reapply, and I get burned once again and I die. My character re-spawns from the beginning of the level, maybe I can catch up back to this beast. However the time rings and I have to find time again to start over this quest.

So I just detailed what a Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate battle looks like, how does this even apply to Math at all? Well ask yourself if that experience, even in failure was rewarding? Yes. I clearly enjoyed all of this, and was thoroughly engaged to the end. However thats an emotional award, what about the lessons I gained from that experience? Well I became aware that the Great Jaggi is paired with the Qurepeco. I learned that I wasted too much time in that battle when I could have been on the Qurepeco. I realized that certain things the bird did lead to me being attacked. I described that the sparking of its claws leads to a burning attack. I realized that I need to watch for how my swords are sharpened as I can't attack unless they are at their peak. I even got some valuable hide and frills* that can allow me to upgrade my weapon, so maybe I can upgrade my weapon so that when I do this quest again I am more prepared.

All those things are aspects of what a great Math lesson is. Its not all about necessarily being able to conquer the battle (the objectives) of the class time limit, its about maximizing the experience in the classroom. Our classrooms need to replicate this. We can provide a student with this larger math question (Qurupeco) . However once they start trying to unpack that question they end up with a meaningful smaller but challenging question (Great Jaggi). This something that they need to sort out before even going back to the main question, in this naturally occurring subquestion (just like the Great Jaggi naturally appeared) there are major benefits to be had. The students are able to identify conceptual links between this and the main objective. They can spend their time facing the sub objective and it's intricacies (the children). And once they 'beat' that, they end up with some meaningful conceptual understanding of the material (the spoils of it' hide and frill). They at the end of the class, regardless of wether or not they answered the big question , are upgraded mentally.

Dig the new armor?

They can go back to the larger task at hand and run out of time because of the impatience. There are seeds that demonstrate they recognize patterns but can't really meaningfully respond. However the failure of answering the question now is a badge of honor. In the sense they had a battle, a riveting experience. They have some new armor and when faced tomorrow with the main question, if the sub questions come, they will slay it quickly now and focus attention back on the major question. This is what is the satisfying hunt in Monster Hunter sounds like , and if we can provide these experiences for mathematical conceptual understanding they will feel rewarded.


Monster Hunter's Math Principles

  • Bigger problems like bigger monsters are all the more engaging
  • Like the Qurupeco and Great Jaggi, think of creating problems that have multiple concepts attatched that will have students have to build one certain set of skills to get to the other
  • Each part of a battle has some items that can be used to better the player, likewise the actual things we have students do in class actually have to be of benefit to them for the larger picture
  • Monster Hunter players expect to lose once in a while, allow students to embrace that, as long as they gain valuable lessons such that they can go back again .
  • Emphasize for students to look for patterns and create questions where they have to immerse themselves in that, Monster Hunter's battling system is only engaging because it rewards players who watch what the monster does and tries to figure out what he or she will do when the monster does these things.
  • Other games like Monster Hunter which have a emphasis on collecting material and upgrading can easily fail by having people engaged in non dynamic battles, whereas teachers can mess up by the provision non dynamic questions .
  •  Most Monster Hunter Players will suggest that playing the game co-operatively is a need (I have the 3ds version so thats not happening soon), but we know that having students work together is a key part of meaningful learning.

Real Math is messy, its rough, there is a lot collecting of knowledge to be done and failures throughout. We have to make the failures worth enduring. Monster Hunter is a game that when you fail but that you fail, you get a lot out of it when you do. It makes the moment when you beat the monster ten times more rewarding. Math is the same.

*Although in the game you don't get to keep them if you fail the quest 

Shout outs: Jodecideon
Peace, Love, Unity, God Bless and Keep Safe

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 and is filed under ,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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