Oct 10, 2013
First of all, it ain’t like I hate math. On the contrary, I love it. It brings order to the world, and there is something so calming about the fact that physically, one plus one always inevitably equals two. Not much theory here, just hard, cold FACTS. If I know the formula, and apply the precepts in the right order, I’ll be right every time.
But there is something horrifically painful about the math problems my children regale me with… something that induces panic. First of all, the terms used are all wrong to someone who sparred with numbers using Commonwealth English as the means of discourse. And there is something inherently discomfiting about being asked about stuff you have not done in decades by a kid who may or may not believe mom or dad still know the answer to everything in the world.
So, thank heavens for Henry Borenson and The Fun Way to Learn Algebra Maybe I can keep the cape on a bit longer.
This app purports to help kids visualize algebra using game pieces to bring life to problems. It is split into lessons, and a sample lesson has a walkthrough to help figure out 5x + 2 = 2x + 14. To facilitate the learning process, blue tokens are used for the unknowns, and numbered pieces represent the integers. A scale is used to visually keep both sides equal. And that, in a nutshell, is the goal of the game: the players have to keep both sides equal with legal moves. So, in the scenario above, if a kid removes two units (subtracts 2) from the left side, he/she must do it on the right side to be within the parameters of the game.
Each lesson had a video intro, some practice questions and exercises.
In real life testing, both my 7-yr-old and 10 yr-old were able to play with it, and enjoy it. For the older, it was quite easy, but the game component was appreciated. The younger didn’t get the precepts, but was well on the way to figuring out how balance works in the game.
Due to the age of the targeted demographic, the game could probably use some sizzle, but all in all, I’m appreciative of this application and what it does.