Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
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5 Dice: Order of Operations Game

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Math game targets order of operations, demands higher-order thinking

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3-8
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Pros: Challenging game promotes critical thinking and helps strengthen arithmetic skills.

Cons: Problems can be difficult, so some kids might struggle. Accessible hints and leveled learning would help.

Bottom Line: This engaging tool for practicing arithmetic skills requires kids to put on their thinking caps.

5 Dice: Order of Operations Game could work well as a tool for practicing skills already learned in the classroom. Have younger kids work in small groups to play the addition and subtraction mini-game. Older kids can work individually to play the more challenging games. You could also allow kids to use the multiplayer mode to compete against as many as four classmates. Make sure kids send you progress reports so you can keep tabs on anyone who needs extra practice.    

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5 Dice: Order of Operations Game is a math game that challenges kids to use their knowledge of the order of operations to solve problems. At the main screen, kids can choose Play, Scores, Instructions, or Get More. Play takes users to the game; Scores displays user scores and includes options for sending or resetting scores; Instructions displays a graphical summary of gameplay; and Get More takes users to a screen where they can submit an email address to receive a downloadable version of the game.

Kids select Play to start a new game, then choose a single or multiplayer game and select from five different mini-games, each of which requires kids to use a unique combination of operations. For example, in one mini-game, kids have to use addition and subtraction to solve problems; in another, they have to use multiplication and division. The most challenging level requires kids to use all four operations as well as exponents. Once kids choose a skill, the game begins. Five dice are rolled, and the results appear at the top of the screen; a blank grid and an answer also appear. Kids have to drag into the grid each die, along with the needed operation symbol(s), to make an equation that will result in the given answer. Then kids tap the Shoot! icon to find out if they completed the equation correctly. When the equation is correct, the solution appears. When the equation is incorrect, a stepped-out explanation appears to show why it's incorrect. Kids can either redo the problem or reset the target for a new problem. A scratch pad is available for players who need to work through problems. 

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Kids use arithmetic and critical-thinking skills as they play 5 Dice: Order of Operations Game. Many math games use a more simplistic drill-like approach, so the learning style here is both refreshing and effective. It's helpful that kids can see why an answer is incorrect, and that they can try again to get it right. Since the game only includes problems that require higher-order thinking, kids should have solid knowledge of the order of operations and of how to position parentheses in multi-step equations. Accessible hints and the ability to begin by practicing more straightforward arithmetic problems would be welcome updates.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

For many kids, the challenge of creating equations to produce a given answer will be almost addictive, but kids who struggle could get frustrated and give up. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids are given the answer to an equation and have to arrange dice and math operations to produce that answer, a format that's sure to promote critical-thinking skills. Feedback for incorrect answers shows why they're incorrect. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Kids can access visual instructions, and the developer's website provides lots of information, a blog, teaching tips, and worksheets available for purchase. 


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