Monday, July 9, 2012

Math Doodles

Over the past few weeks, I feel like I have been testing A LOT of apps to see if they would be something good to use in the classroom.  My children have agreed to be "guinea pig" testers, and I often just watch them try out an app that I think I might like so I can see what a kid might do with it.  Last week, my younger son and I started testing Math Doodles by Daren Carstens.  This has quickly become one of our favorite apps!  First, the intro is really funny, which we love.  Currently there are three games to choose from: Sums Stacker, Connect Sums and Unknown Square. In Sums Stacker, you have to stack the values to add up to the number at the bottom of the columns. In the hard level, one column is a mystery.  In Connect Sums, you have to find the values that add up to the number at the top of the page. In the easy mode, you can choose any two numbers. In the hard mode, the numbers have to touch.  Finally, in Unknown Square, the player has to figure out the unknown number, just like a Magic Square. There are 5 levels and by the 5th level, you have to figure out 5 unknown values. It's really fun, challenging and makes you think. In each game you can change the values you are using: Roman Numerals, dominoes, English words, Spanish words, Chinese characters, Arabic numerals, fractions, money, Braille -  there are 22 different choices. If you want to try something you aren't familiar with, it's ok - there is a key on the page you can refer to when playing the game. There are two levels, easy and hard, on all the games.  What I like about this app is that it is not over-congratulatory - the stacks give a little dance when you are correct - and it also gives you the ratio of moves to points. Both my sons have pushed themselves to try and get a better ratio than last time.  My kids and I have all loved to try out values that we aren't familiar with to see what we can do. For each level completed, you get a smiley face and the game is over when you reach five.  When you finish, you get a "math compliment" such as "mathematically yummy" or "mathematically brilliant"  which reminds me of a favorite teacher of mine who gave unique compliments on all papers.  The one thing I would change is the ability to sign in and have the app track a particular players'  progress.  In a classroom setting, it would be beneficial to be able to check and see what students are working on. Overall, this is a great app and I am excited to use it in the classroom in the fall.

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