Common Sense Review
Updated February 2014

DragonBox Algebra 12+

Super fun, cutting-edge approach to learning and practicing algebra
Common Sense Rating 5
  • Kids have to isolate the box on one side of the screen.
  • Equations start out fairly simple and increase in difficulty.
  • Eventually, the box is replaced with variables.
  • Kids can use the practice mode to apply what they learned in gameplay.
Learning algebra is built into engaging gameplay, and kids can apply what they learn using a practice mode.
Harder levels might frustrate some kids, so the option for more hints would be helpful.
Bottom Line
Kids build a strong foundation for algebra by learning the underlying concepts for solving equations with this extremely fun and educational math tool.
Debbie Gorrell
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 5
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Kids will have tons of fun while being challenged to balance and solve equations. Watching dragons grow is pretty cool, too.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

Equations increase in difficulty, and stepped-out solutions are offered for kids who need help. The integration of gameplay with learning is seamless.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Subtle hints and animated tutorials help teach kids how to use rules. As the difficulty level increases, the lack of detailed explanations may frustrate some kids.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

It would be fun to use DragonBox Algebra 12+ as a way to reinforce concepts. Kids can work in pairs to complete each level, but ideally they would work individually to complete the practice problems. The first chapter is easy enough that you could use it as a fun introduction to middle school algebra or to assess students' prior knowledge. Once kids complete a chapter, have them choose one of the equations from the game mode to write and solve using paper and pencil.

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What's It Like?

DragonBox Algebra 12+ is a fun and challenging game that teaches kids how to solve algebraic equations. Kids learn one of the most important concepts in algebra -- keeping equations balanced. They learn this concept by dragging and dropping objects on two sides of a diagram, reinforcing the idea that what is done to one side of an equation must be done to the other side.

The game mode has 10 chapters, with 20 levels to complete for each chapter. A practice mode lets kids use what they learn to solve more traditional equations. The main goal of the game is to solve equations by dragging and tapping objects so the dragon in the box is by itself on one side of the screen. When kids are successful, the dragon eats anything on the opposite side of the screen and continues to grow. Once kids complete all 20 levels within a chapter, the dragon is finished growing and the next chapter unlocks. Hints help guide kids who struggle, and after one unsuccessful try at a level, kids can tap to see the solution.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Kids use gameplay to build a conceptual understanding of algebra. They learn how to solve equations in a truly unique way and then have the opportunity to assess learning in a more traditional practice mode. Kids start by learning basic skills as they tap objects to make them disappear so the dragon in the box is alone on the screen. As learning progresses, kids have to isolate the box (which later becomes a variable) on one side of the screen. The key to success is that kids have to do the same thing to both sides of the screen, which models an equation. Advanced chapters incorporate fractions, coefficients, and more. Earning points and rewards motivates kids to complete each level. The game also helps build critical thinking skills, since kids earn the most points for solving equations using the fewest number of steps. DragonBox Algebra 12+ will engage kids to learn and enjoy algebra.

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