The Importance of Fluency
Becoming fluent in math across the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is a critical goal for elementary school-aged kids. The path towards understanding higher order math concepts like problem-solving and algebra depends on the ability of young learners to recall from memory math facts like 4 x 3 or 10 - 5.
Rote Learning is Tough
The hard truth is that committing these facts to memory takes a significant amount of work in the form of practice. In the old days, this meant hours and hours of filling out worksheets full of equations. Although printed worksheets are still used extensively, many schools are turning to technology to look for programs that make this process more efficient for both students and their teachers. A popular approach is to use Xtramath, a website that presents students with equations in a timed "drill" format. The program tracks progress by recording which equations students answer correctly within 3 seconds. The upside is that progress is monitored in a graph that the students, parents, and the teacher can view. The downside is that many students find the timed drill sessions stressful or boring.
Memorizing Through Game Play
We created Box Drop Math to bring a game based approach to memorization. By answering math questions, players earn boxes and are then challenged to build a stack without knocking them over. To encourage faster responses, players earn top points for answering equations correctly within 3 seconds - a demonstration of mastery. A progress monitoring graph keeps players and parents informed as mastery is achieved. We think our app provides the right level of fun and motivation to keep learners practicing until they memorize these basic equations. But we'd love to hear your thoughts! Try out Box Drop Math Addition for free in all the app stores. If you like it, upgrade to Box Drop Math Complete for all four operations.
Get it now in the Apple App Store, on Amazon, or via Google Play.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Sunday, November 17, 2013
With the launch of our updated version of Leo Spanish and Leo English spelling apps, Ingrid and I feel a renewed sense of excitement that bringing together our passions of creativity, technology, and education is possible, even if it seems to take, a...really... long... time. Taking one’s time, however, comes with some advantages, not the least of which is technological change.
Although Leo v1 was created with Adobe’s Flash, we decided to switch to the mobile development environment Corona SDK for the update since it seemed to be the most broadly supported and actively growing platform. And, in the two years that have elapsed since Leo first appeared in Apple’s app store, Corona SDK has advanced in leaps and bounds. Support for multiple platforms is made easy (Leo is now available in the Apple App Store, Amazon, and Google Play) and coding for a myriad of screen sizes and dimensions largely automated. This means that we have more time to focus on the important stuff - interactive design, art, and game play.
Our next project focuses on early math, with the specific goal of making the necessary and tedious task of practicing simple equations fun and rewarding. Some things, like basic addition, subtraction, and the times tables just take a lot of repetition in order to become fluent. In my next post I’ll outline our strategy for taking on this challenge.