Algebra is an important part of math, and it marks a new stage of math thinking. It requires more abstract thinking than the type of math kids learn in elementary school. That is why most schools won’t start algebra till 7th or 8th grade. Does it mean that kids in elementary school can’t grasp algebraic thinking? The answer is no. Younger kids can still gain the type of thinking that’s needed for algebra study. An perfect example is DragonBox Algebra.
DragonBox is a math app designed to help kids learn the concepts and the type of thinking for algebra, but in a very fun way that kids may not even know they are learning algebra. There is no math term in the app, and there is no instructor telling kids the math rules. Everything is shown visually and kids can just sort of figure out the rules on their own while playing the game. So it is possible after finishing all the game levels in the app, kids won’t be able to articulate the name of the operation rules in math, but the brain neural path that’s needed for that type of problem is established while playing the games, and when kids are studying algebra, they will be able to quickly recognize the games they played, and since their brain structure is established, algebra will be an easy subject for them to learn.
There are 3 DragonBox apps. Today I will focus on DragonBox for elementary school kids.
The main idea of DragonBox is to move the elements in, out, or between two big boxes, so eventually the dragon will be just by itself in one box, and everything else in the other. Of course, all the moves have to follow rules in algebra.
When you open the app, you want to set up a profile. You can set up more than one profile for easy tracking and individual progress maintaining. Once you set up the profile for your child, the child can start the learning. There are 10 chapters in the app, and each chapter has a corresponding practice chapter. Kids can’t skip playing chapters, but in practice, they can choose any chapter to start. I highly recommend following the path and choose practice among the chapters you already finished the games. Otherwise, you may get lost.
Each chapter has 40 to 60 games. Depends on the level, each game earns the player 1 to 3 stars. I would suggest to encourage the child to try to earn all the stars he can possibly win in each game. Each star is associate with some algebra rules, if kids missed a star, it means there is at least one rule in the game he failed to apply. Although he can move on to the next game, and it is very possible he can use the rule in the next game, but it is always helpful to learn all the rules in all different scenario. For example, if kids solve a problem and get the final solution as x=(3+4)y in stead of x=7y, they may miss a star, but they can move on to next game. However, kids really should know that the final answer should be 7y, not (3+4)y.
Although there is no instructions in math term inside the app, if you want to know the connections between the chapters and the Algebra principles, you can find the information on the developer, We Want To Know, website. There are detailed information on algebra rules built in each chapter. There are also instructions and suggestions on how to incorporate the app in homeschool and classroom teaching.
Overall, DragonBox is a great math app teaching kids algebra concepts and principles early on. If you want to give your child a head start on algebra or if you want to supplement your child’s algebra learning, or if your child needs some reinforcement in algebra concepts and rules, this is a perfect app for you.
DragonBox Algebra 12 is for elementary to middle school kids. However, it is also good for high school students who need algebra refresh. It is available on all Apple devices, including Mac computer. It is also available on Android devices and Window tablets. It is $7.99.
If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store link provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support! Note: The link works for all countries.
Looking for more math apps that can help your kids learn math? Here are our picks of Best Math Learning Tools for Kids, that not only provide practice problems, but also explain math concepts. For learning subjects beyond math, check out Best Educational Apps for Kids, Grouped by Age and Learning Subjects.