How I Use It
As practice/extension students in second through eighth grade. Great for ELL and low literacy students as it's almost entirely visual -- very little reading required and the options include directions in 14 languages.
In my second grade class, we work on the idea of balancing equations starting with a physical balance, comparing the two sides and assessing what needs to be added or subtracted to achieve equality. Then, in the context of money, we play further with the big ideas of equivalence and exchange, swapping or canceling out coins of equivalent value. With the introduction of "foreign coins" of unknown value, we explore the idea of a variable. Dragonbox extends these ideas even further and provides a new context for balancing the two sides of an equation. Children play individually and in pairs, where the intuitive interface makes it easy for students to explain their thinking to each other.
Dragonbox uses a visual, intuitive interface to gradually scaffold increasingly complex algebraic equations. Learning how to isolate a variable has never been so much fun -- my kids love it! Cleverly disguised as a game, the program moves from visually appealing images and characters to variable symbols you'll recognize from algebra class. The current research shows that introducing children to algebraic thinking in elementary school makes returning to the concepts in high school and beyond significantly easier. Dragonbox is a brilliant means of doing so.