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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education



First Reader/Committee Chair

Stone-MacDonald, Angi


This thesis, written as a teacher's manual, reviews literature where tabletop and board games are used in countries such as Austria and Thailand. Research suggests that Game-Based Learning (GBL) significantly reduces disengagement among students during foundational literacy and math lessons. This manual focuses on lower-elementary students (K-3rd grade) with mild to moderate disabilities. The problem is these children often lag one to two years behind their peers in reading and math, requiring them to repetitively practice what the average student may immediately understand. This leads to students growing bored with lessons. This manual's purpose is to examine gamifying education in a smaller classroom of 15 or fewer students. It details in its appendix lesson plans and engaging team games, such as math scavenger hunts, domino play to add and subtract and stretching slinkies to sound out words. GBL allows students to not only increase academic scores to meet state standards, but use their imagination, grow cognitively, socially and emotionally, and be more aware of real-world situations. Data were collected from research sites, and personal experiences and scenarios from a Special Education teacher's Research Specialist Program (RSP) classroom. Findings in this manual indicate a need for more classrooms to engage in game-based learning to not only raise the academic bar, but to build diverse learners who collaboratively discover how to have fun while learning.