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Topic: MathDash Feedback Request

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Subject:   RE: MathDash Feedback Request
Author: fjl
Date: Apr 6 2012
Hi Max and Everyone,

This is Frank Lee, the faculty mentor for the MathDash Team. I wanted to respond
to Max's excellent point, but also briefly provide some context and the thoughts
that went into our decision. We would love to get feedback on this or any other
aspects of MathDash that you might provide us especially as it relates to the
education aspect of MathDash, the game aspect of MathDash, and how the learning
integrates with the gameplay in MathDash. So, now onto Max's points.

We struggled with this feature of the game, that is the combining of two atoms
to come up with different atoms that can be used. The logical thing might be
that when you combine, they result in different addends, e.g. 8,6 might result
in 9,5. But from a gameplay perspective, we needed to come up with a combining
process that was easy and consistent, because of the pacing (i.e. arcade-like,
time pressure) of the game.

But the issue with combining to addends approach is that in many cases you have
multiple combinations of addends that can result, e.g. 9,1-> 8,2 | 7,3 | 6,4 |
5,5. There wasn't a good simple rule that we could come up with that would
govern the combine rule. One idea that I think I suggested initially was that
the addends that were closest in value would be chosen, e.g. from 9,1->5,5.
But in the end we rejected it, because it requires too much complex thinking, in
that you have to think about all the possible combinations and then compare them
to each other to figure out which one is the closest in value. So in the end we
chose to go with the place value split. This rule is consistent, and easy to
apply and predictable by the players.

You mentioned the difficulty kids have with place values, which is a valid
concern. But, I also took into consideration, learning about abstraction (please
excuse me if I'm not using the terminology right), of numbers representing more
than their physical count and can represent place value, is an important skill,
and this method can encourage this type of thinking.


Frank J. Lee, Ph.D
Associate Teaching Professor
Computer Science Department, Drexel University
Co-Director, Drexel Game Design Program and RePlay Game Lab

On Apr  6 2012, maxmathforum wrote:
> Hi Math Dashers,

I posted on your survey but also wanted to see
> if we could get a discussion started among all the smart Math and
> Tech folks here...

I'm wondering how best to handle the part of
> the game where two numbers are combined to make a new digit that's
> their sum.

If you combine 8 and 6 to get 14, the game currently
> gives you a 1 digit and a 4 digit. The 1 no longer represents a 1 in
> the 10s place with a value of 10 units.

To me, that seems like it
> might subtly reinforce student misconceptions of place value, and I
> wonder about other options:

-What if combining 8 and 6 made a 4
> and ten 1's?
-What if the user got to choose, quickly, what three
> numbers they wanted to partition 14 into?

What else? What are the
> pluses and minuses of each plan?


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