Hi! Who out there in math-teacher-twitter-blog-land has played DragonBox yet? It’s an iPhone/iPad app that teaches the rules of algebraic manipulation through an intriguing, almost context-less, rule-based environment. You can download it for $2.99 or read about it on GeekDad over at Wired here: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/06/dragonbox/

I’m asking because I’m really intrigued!

First of all, I want to play in the environment (I want to invent a subtraction operation, introduce the distributive property, play with addition of fractions, etc.). What breaks? What becomes less clear/mathematically sound? What is improved?

Second of all, I am really surprised by the total lack of context, especially that there’s no support to think of why we’re isolating the box and why we have to do the same think to each side sometimes and each group other times. Every context I try to associate in my head is confusing/incomplete when we get to higher levels. But clearly there are reasons we add to both sides and divide/multiply every group by the same thing, all about preserving equality. What does equality mean in this game?

I’d love it if you would play the game (with your kids, I hope) and tell me what you think! Is the lack of context a plus? What happens as kids play? What would a “sandbox” area look like?