I was recently asked to review a new math game that was written by math teacher, Justin Holladay, for i-pad and i-phone technology. Since I don’t own either an i-Phone or an i-pad, (collective gasp!!!) I asked a friend to review the game for me. What follows is her review of this new math game which you can find at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/5-dice-order-operations-game/id572774867?ls=1&mt=8 :
Five Dice is an iPhone/iPad app to practice order of operations. I downloaded Five Dice to my iPad2 and my iPhone4S. It ran perfectly on both devices.
When I opened the game, I was greeted with the typical “dice rolling” sound. I was then given the option to either create a new player, or select an existing player. There are seven lines visible for players’ names, but it’s unclear whether or not seven is the maximum number of players allowed. To add a player, you click the plus sign and type in their name. You can also type in their email address, but I declined, and the app simply asked if I was sure I didn’t want to provide this information. There was no indication of what advantage including an email would provide.
After selecting a player, I clicked the “Play” button, and the game automatically rolled five dice for me. I was also given a target number. The object of the game is to use the numbers on the dice, along with the math symbols provided (plus, minus, multiplication, division, parentheses, and exponents) to create an equation with the target number as its answer.
Numbers on the dice can be used as digits in a larger number. For example, if a six and a five were rolled, one could use them to create the numbers 65 or 56.
Dice and symbols are dragged to their proper places on the grid provided. When I was sure I had an appropriate equation (which was more challenging than I thought it would be), I clicked on an arrow that was pointing to the bullseye, with “Shoot” printed on it. The game then indicated whether or not my answer was correct. If incorrect, I was given the option to change it.
Players can click on a whiteboard to access a scratch pad for working out the answer. The whiteboard can be written on with a finger or a stylus. This is a very basic scratch pad, with options for pencil, eraser, and erase.
The graphics are simple, but effective. The font and outlines for the entire game look a little like pencil drawing, which should appeal to upper level students. The target number appears in a bullseye graphic.
There are ten levels of difficulty. Instructions for playing the game are easily accessible from the Home page. The Home page is also easily accessible from any other area of the game, which I found convenient and helpful.
A printable version of the game is offered on the Home page. I accepted the offer and received an attractive, four-page pdf file. Instructions for the game were on the first page. The next page had pre-populated target numbers (printed on a bullseye), along with squares to indicate which numbers were rolled using the dice. The rest of the file had bullseye graphics, for writing in your own target numbers, and the same squares for dice numbers.
I’m not sure this is a game my students would choose to play “for fun”, but it is certainly a more enjoyable way to practice math skills than many other options. Games for upper level math aren’t easy to find. Any student who enjoys the Apple devices should be able to benefit from the app itself. The printable version, with the rolling of “real” dice, would be great for tactile learners.
Kelly Stone has homeschooled her six children for the past sixteen years. Three have graduated from homeschool high school, with a 7, 11, and 14-year-old still being educated at home.