DragonBox Algebra 5+

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Kids learn concepts of algebra in stellar game app.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

DragonBox+ starts with very basic actions (tap this, drag this) and gradually adds additional actions with instructions as you play. You get penalized for making too many moves in a level, and sometimes this can be frustrating if a spare bump on the screen is interpreted as a wrong move. Younger children will need someone to read the instructions when they appear, but older children will be able to play the game without adult instruction.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A small button on the title screen takes you to the app's website.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

A button on the main screen takes kids to a list of links including links to the developer's website. Selecting a link will take kids out of the app to a web browser or the app store.

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

Subjects

Math

  • algebra
  • equations

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • algebra
  • equations

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Kids can learn concepts for solving algebraic equations (those involving basic arithmetical functions but not quadratic equations) while playing this fun and challenging game. DragonBox+ requires no prior knowledge of algebra or arithmetic, and only requires the ability to read the instructions that appear from time to time (or an adult to help read them). The app is simple enough for young children to pick up but deep enough for middle school students. DragonBox+ sets a new standard for math apps.

This Learning Rating review was written by Jonathan H. Liu

Kids say

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone
Price:$5.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:June 12, 2012
Category:Educational Games
Size:26.60 MB
Publisher:WeWantToKnow AS
Version:1.0.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up

This review of DragonBox Algebra 5+ was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written byclcfh November 13, 2012
 
LEARNING

A painless way for children and adults to learn to solve algebraic equations

DragonBox provides a painless way to learn to isolate x in algebraic equations. The leveled puzzles start simple and with graphics only, then gradually replace some of the images with numbers, letters, and math operators and add complexity until children -- and adults -- are solving intermediate algebra equations without need for the graphics. My nine year old was quick to work through the puzzles in the larger $6 pack available for this app, but my five year old wasn't interested. The first puzzles aren't too hard for a little guy, but he didn't find them engaging. The kids did both like the dragons that you earn as you progress through the levels. I find this a far more intuitive and less painful way to learn than the standard state algebra curriculum. An adult friend going back to college tried the app and purchased for her own use. A note on the expansion pack: You get twice as many puzzles to solve, but at the same levels as the $3 pack. The extra practice is useful, but progressing in difficulty would have been nice too. Positive message: Math is fun, and not too hard.
What other families should know
Great messages
Educator Written byMathGameLover October 9, 2012
 
LEARNING

DragonBox - A Revolutionary Learning Game

By turning the rules of math into the rules of the game, DragonBox incentivizes kids to learn math simply by playing. They want to solve the problems so they can watch their dragons grow. It is a true marriage of games and education. I look forward to more learning apps from this company
Adult Written bymrs.faro November 15, 2012
 
LEARNING

Dragon Box is worth the money!

As a teacher, I love this app because it is a different way to teach children the basics of algebra. I think this works well for young children who like to solve puzzles. When they actually encounter these ideas in class, they will have a connection and connections are everything in math! The one thing that would make this app better in my opinion is the addition of a brief lesson at the end of each chapter that would relate the game to the vocabulary used in math. A student who struggles in math may not be able to make that connection intuitively if he or she is lacking math sense.

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