afterMath (formerly known as Contemporary Studies of the Zombie Apocalypse (CSZA) or Zombie Math) is a comprehensive math learning tool for middle school students that takes the form of an online RPG (Role-Playing Game). In CSZA, students take on the role of zombie-fighting teenagers and engage in a thrilling narrative while playing math-based games. CSZA immerses learners into a virtual fantasy world where mathematical thinking becomes the natural way to solve problems and meet challenges, much like in the real world but without the consequences of making mistakes that the real world entails. Student engagement in the gaming environment facilitates both conceptual/functional and procedural mathematics understanding and more importantly give students the opportunity to see math as an essential and useful tool.
CSZA scaffolds the connections between situated, concrete math metaphors and abstract, formal, academic mathematics. The intervention is also adaptive and automatically adjust the mathematical difficulty levels up or down based on the student’s performance, thus finding the student’s appropriate zone of proximal development. A backend tool and an easy-to-access dashboard provides the teacher with real-time student performance data that can further inform differentiated instruction decisions.