DragonBox Algebra 5+
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that DragonBox+ Algebra is an innovative educational app that through gameplay teaches kids concepts relating to solving algebraic equations. The app includes links to the developer's website as well as the app store, but does not require a user account or other online access.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- solving puzzles
Engagement, Approach, Support
It's as fun to play as any best-selling game. Kids will definitely enjoy the challenge -- especially as equations become harder and harder to balance.
Kids solve equations as they play, which makes for a wonderfully integrated experience between navigating the game and building critical thinking. Moving to paper may be difficult, but the developer's blog gives tips.
Tutorials are great for teaching rules; kids may get frustrated without any hints or help. Still, the website suggests adults intervene as little as possible, saying, "Mathematics is a game. Don't spoil it!"
What's it about?
DRAGONBOX+ ALGEBRA exposes kids to basic algebra concepts by having them drag and drop little "cards" onto two trays on the screen. The goal is to isolate the sparkling box by itself, which is analogous to solving for x, but the algebraic concepts are presented in a way that makes them seem like rules to a game rather than mathematical concepts. It isn't until later that numbers, letters, and mathematical symbols start to appear gradually. As levels are solved, the various "dragons" grow, and players are awarded with stars for solving equations, using the fewest moves possible, and simplifying the equations.
Is it any good?
DragonBox+ is amazing: It is an app that is truly educational, rather than one that depends on an existing knowledge of the subject it purports to teach. It is not simply an interactive flash card app with multimedia bells and whistles thrown in. Learning the mechanics of the game is actually the act of learning concepts needed to solve algebraic equations, but the child doesn't even have to know that.
The algebra is not explicit at the beginning and can be played even with no understanding of basic arithmetic until the final levels of the game. As far as kids are concerned, they are just learning a new type of puzzle game. The equations become more complex as the game progresses, and by the last level they take the form of standard "solve for x" equations. What is most surprising about the app is that young kids can learn fundamental concepts of algebra in a matter of hours.
Families can talk about...
Provide similar equations and have kids work out the steps on paper, without the app's assistance. Solving equations on paper can be more difficult because errors can creep in.
Play the app along with your kids.