Product Review of Diffission
Diffission is a fractions game that can be played online or downloaded as an iOS or Android app. The game mechanic itself is simple: Cut this shape into equal parts and highlight the fraction. As the user progresses, the game presents learners with challenges of increasing complexity.
A surprising number of curveballs are thrown in at later levels, such as vanishing blocks that eliminate not only themselves but also any blocks touching them, or switch blocks, which jump from place to place when you make a cut. Critical thinking is embedded into these engaging puzzles, and learners who initially call the game dull may find themselves engrossed in how to complete higher-level challenges.
Diffission will work best if the teacher gets a few accounts and lets learners experiment with the game in centers. As the game is $3 per account, educators could be looking at $100 to have a whole class play a single game about fractions, so individual accounts are unlikely; unfortunately, the game is designed to work best for one user. Teachers could suggest Diffission to parents of learners struggling with the concept of fractions or keep a couple accounts on hand for targeted practice.
Diffission does a great job of letting learners practice with fractions. It covers a variety of concepts, from equivalent fractions to the idea that not all pieces have to be the same shape (only the same size).
The game encourages mental math as learners may have to add or subtract blocks using vanishing squares to get the right number of pieces. For example, a puzzle may say “highlight 2/9” but present you with 22 blocks, meaning you have to find a way to get rid of four. There is a great deal of logical and critical thinking involved, and the puzzles are well thought out and fun. In the end, Diffission presents a good model of fractions for visual learners.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The simple game mechanics lead to a surprising level of complexity, although learners may still lose interest after a while.
Curriculum and Instruction
Diffission teaches fractions and teaches it well, covering a variety of concepts and integrating problem-solving into the mix.
There is not a lot of instruction, but the game is pretty straightforward — you just have to think it through.