Product Review of Slice Fractions School Edition
Slice Fractions School Edition is a series of leveled math puzzles that require kids to strategically slice and drop parts of a whole, teaching them about fractions. There are three main stages of learning, and each stage has several puzzles that increase in difficulty and cover different skills. In the first level, Split Groups, the puzzles teach kids how to split groups and shapes into equal shares, understand that shapes can be compared to a common whole, and understand that upper symbols (which represent numerators) count equal parts. In the second level, Slice Shapes, kids learn how to read fractions and interpret a numerator and denominator. The third level, Shape Comparison, teaches kids how to order fractions, make equivalent fractions, and subtract fractions from 1. Kids earn silly hats for the mammoth and badges of achievement as they complete stages in each level. There’s no penalty for getting a puzzle wrong the first time, so kids can keep trying until they succeed.
You could use Slice Fractions as a way to reinforce concepts. Each puzzle can be solved an unlimited number of times, so once all levels are unlocked, kids can share devices. But keep in mind that they won’t be able to win their own badges or hats, so you may have to come up with your own way to track learners‘ progress and possibly provide motivational rewards. Kids could also work in small groups, taking turns to solve a puzzle or working collaboratively to solve a particularly challenging level. Since learning is so closely tied in with gameplay, it’s a good idea to follow up with a discussion of the concepts that were covered in each stage of the game. There is a downloadable Teacher’s Guide with excellent summaries of the learning objectives and some great suggestions for integrating the game into the classroom.
Kids can learn about fraction concepts including part-to-whole relationships, numerator and denominator notations, equivalent fractions, ordering fractions, and subtracting fractions from 1. Kids have to solve puzzles by slicing shapes into a specific number of parts and strategically dropping the parts so they crush obstacles in a mammoth’s path. But if kids drop too many parts, the path won’t be adequately cleared and they’ll have to start over. Learning is progressive, as kids start by slicing and dropping just to get a feel for the game. As difficulty increases, kids have to slice ice or lava into the correct number of sections and drop the sections to match fractions on the ground below. By working with fraction models and numerical representations, kids can build a strong conceptual understanding of fractions that will be extremely useful as they move to higher grades. Kids also have to think strategically and use problem-solving skills, which they can apply to many disciplines or real-world situations. The app is nicely aligned to a handful of Common Core Math Standards, so educators will appreciate this added value. This school edition has a menu that organizes the learning progression into clear categories, which is very helpful. It would be great if kids or educators could create user profiles to track individual student progress and performance.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Slicing and dropping objects to help an adorable woolly mammoth is fun and addictive, and kids will enjoy earning silly hats as they complete stages.
Curriculum and Instruction
By slicing objects to make equal shares or to generate a given fraction, kids build a conceptual understanding of fractions. Content increases in difficulty, and kids have to use critical-thinking skills to solve the puzzles.
The first few puzzles help kids learn how to slice and drop objects, so they can apply these skills as the puzzles begin to teach about fractions. Hints are vague and sparse. A Teacher’s Guide has great tips.