The Crackers & Goo games require a lot of concentration and would probably work best if kids play individually. Also, since learning through patterns can be somewhat abstract, kids should have some exposure to each skill before attempting that skill level. After introducing the game concept, have kids play, choosing the skill step that applies to the targeted lesson, then follow up with a class discussion. You might also encourage older kids to work in pairs to create and complete new patterns.

Continue readingCrackers & Goo is an engaging game that teaches kids about addition and multiplication through patterns. Kids choose from 16 different levels, or skill steps, organized by grade-appropriate learning objectives. For example, steps 1 through 4 cover such kindergarten skills as counting and basic number patterns, while steps 12 through 16 cover skills for grades 5 and up, including multiplication and rounding. Once kids choose a skill step, the game begins with a partial pattern in the lower portion of the screen. Kids have to find and drag floating crackers into the empty spots to complete the pattern. Correct answers are based on color and numbers. Kids can use one pattern hint in each step, if they need it. When kids finish a pattern, they have to either count the cracker numbers to find the total value of the pattern or complete a math problem using the patterns, estimation, and other arithmetic strategies. Kids earn points for completing a level, and accumulated points are tracked for each game player.

Kids learn about addition and multiplication skills by observing and working with patterns. Game activities are aligned to several Common Core math standards. Kids can learn about addition and multiplication skills by observing and working with patterns. Specific skills include counting and skip counting; addition within 10, 20, 100, and 1,000; mental arithmetic strategies; rounding; expanding; and more. Kids begin by completing a pattern consisting of colorful numbered crackers. They count the numbers inside the crackers to find the total value of the pattern. At more challenging levels, kids have to solve an addition or multiplication problem using mental math. Kids who play the game well will likely build a solid set of important math skills. Some kids will need more concrete step-by-step instruction, however, especially when it comes to multiplication. In those cases, follow-up problems based on place-value digits could help kids who struggle.