PickaPath
Pros: Kids take a unique path to math learning in a game that encourages critical thinking; accompanying instructional guide provides classroomintegration ideas.
Cons: Tracing paths through mazes gets a little monotonous. Some game variety would help keep kids engaged.
Bottom Line: Offers a simple, effective way for kids to use what they know about arithmetic while challenging them to think critically.
The instructional guide, which is located on the developer's website, is a good place to start. Type "PickaPath" in the search field to find the guide. Choose a starting level for kids based on what they're learning in the classroom, and use the game to introduce a concept. If possible, have kids work independently, since the app doesn't accommodate multiple players. Once they complete a maze, come together as a class and discuss the results. Who earned the highest score? What strategies did they use? Continue this method until kids complete an entire level. As an extension activity, have kids draw their own mazes for their classmates to complete.
Continue reading Show lessEditor's Note: PickaPath is no longer available.
PickaPath is a great way for kids to use their math skills to solve problems. Kids tap the Play button to begin and must start at level 1. There are seven levels in all, and each level includes seven puzzles plus a randomly generated puzzle of the same skill type. The goal of each puzzle is for kids to trace a path for Okta, the octopus, so she can make her way through a maze. As Okta moves, mathematical operations shown on the maze segments are performed. Kids are challenged to choose the path that allows Okta to earn the given target  maximum, minimum, or a specific value. If kids don't get close enough to the target, they're prompted to try again. Kids can earn up to three starfish rewards for completing each puzzle, depending on how close they were to the target. Starfish are currency and can be used in the shop to buy gifts for Okta to wear.
The game isn't instructional in nature, but it pushes kids to apply basic math concepts in a meaningful way. Each level of the game focuses on a particular concept, and within each level, puzzles become increasingly difficult. Concepts include integers, factors, powers of 10, fractions, measurement, fractions and decimals, and exponents. Through exploration and trial and error, kids build confidence and fluency in core math skills. The instructional guide has some wonderful ideas for integrating the game in the classroom.
Overall Rating
Engagement
The challenge of leading Okta through mazes is engaging. Each puzzle has a different set of numbers and operations, but the general task is always the same, which can be redundant.
Pedagogy
Kids use criticalthinking skills and apply what they know about mathematical operations. Puzzles get increasingly difficult, but no hints or feedback help struggling kids.
Support
A brief tutorial helps kids get started, and gameplay is simple. The developer's website has an excellent, downloadable instructional guide.
Key Standards Supported
Creating Equations
 HSA.CED.1
Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
 HSA.CED.2
Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
 HSA.CED.3
Represent constraints by equations or inequalities, and by systems of equations and/or inequalities, and interpret solutions as viable or non viable options in a modeling context. For example, represent inequalities describing nutritional and cost constraints on combinations of different foods.
 HSA.CED.4
Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.
Expressions And Equations
 6.EE.1
Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving wholenumber exponents.
 6.EE.2
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
 6.EE.2.a
Write expressions that record operations with numbers and with letters standing for numbers. For example, express the calculation “Subtract y from 5” as 5 – y.
 6.EE.2.b
Identify parts of an expression using mathematical terms (sum, term, product, factor, quotient, coefficient); view one or more parts of an expression as a single entity. For example, describe the expression 2 (8 + 7) as a product of two factors; view (8 + 7) as both a single entity and a sum of two terms.
 6.EE.2.c
Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in realworld problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order (Order of Operations). For example, use the formulas V = s3 and A = 6 s2 to find the volume and surface area of a cube with sides of length s = 1/2.
 6.EE.3
Apply the properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions.
 6.EE.4
Identify when two expressions are equivalent (i.e., when the two expressions name the same number regardless of which value is substituted into them). For example, the expressions y + y + y and 3y are equivalent because they name the same number regardless of which number y stands for.
 6.EE.5
Understand solving an equation or inequality as a process of answering a question: which values from a specified set, if any, make the equation or inequality true? Use substitution to determine whether a given number in a specified set makes an equation or inequality true.
 6.EE.6
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a realworld or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
 6.EE.7
Solve realworld and mathematical problems by writing and solving equations of the form x + p = q and px = q for cases in which p, q and x are all nonnegative rational numbers.
 6.EE.8
Write an inequality of the form x > c or x < c to represent a constraint or condition in a realworld or mathematical problem. Recognize that inequalities of the form x > c or x < c have infinitely many solutions; represent solutions of such inequalities on number line diagrams.
 6.EE.9
Use variables to represent two quantities in a realworld problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. For example, in a problem involving motion at constant speed, list and graph ordered pairs of distances and times, and write the equation d = 65t to represent the relationship between distance and time.
 7.EE.3
Solve multistep reallife and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. For example: If a woman making $25 an hour gets a 10% raise, she will make an additional 1/10 of her salary an hour, or $2.50, for a new salary of $27.50. If you want to place a towel bar 9 3/4 inches long in the center of a door that is 27 1/2 inches wide, you will need to place the bar about 9 inches from each edge; this estimate can be used as a check on the exact computation.
 7.EE.4
Use variables to represent quantities in a realworld or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.
 7.EE.4.a
Solve word problems leading to equations of the form px + q = r and p(x + q) = r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Solve equations of these forms fluently. Compare an algebraic solution to an arithmetic solution, identifying the sequence of the operations used in each approach. For example, the perimeter of a rectangle is 54 cm. Its length is 6 cm. What is its width?
 7.EE.4.b
Solve word problems leading to inequalities of the form px + q > r or px + q < r, where p, q, and r are specific rational numbers. Graph the solution set of the inequality and interpret it in the context of the problem. For example: As a salesperson, you are paid $50 per week plus $3 per sale. This week you want your pay to be at least $100. Write an inequality for the number of sales you need to make, and describe the solutions.
 7.EE.1
Apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients.
 7.EE.2
Understand that rewriting an expression in different forms in a problem context can shed light on the problem and how the quantities in it are related. For example, a + 0.05a = 1.05a means that “increase by 5%” is the same as “multiply by 1.05.”
 8.EE.7
Solve linear equations in one variable.
 8.EE.7.a
Give examples of linear equations in one variable with one solution, infinitely many solutions, or no solutions. Show which of these possibilities is the case by successively transforming the given equation into simpler forms, until an equivalent equation of the form x = a, a = a, or a = b results (where a and b are different numbers).
 8.EE.7.b
Solve linear equations with rational number coefficients, including equations whose solutions require expanding expressions using the distributive property and collecting like terms.
 8.EE.8
Analyze and solve pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
 8.EE.8.a
Understand that solutions to a system of two linear equations in two variables correspond to points of intersection of their graphs, because points of intersection satisfy both equations simultaneously.
 8.EE.8.b
Solve systems of two linear equations in two variables algebraically, and estimate solutions by graphing the equations. Solve simple cases by inspection. For example, 3x + 2y = 5 and 3x + 2y = 6 have no solution because 3x + 2y cannot simultaneously be 5 and 6.
 8.EE.8.c
Solve realworld and mathematical problems leading to two linear equations in two variables. For example, given coordinates for two pairs of points, determine whether the line through the first pair of points intersects the line through the second pair.
 8.EE.5
Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. For example, compare a distancetime graph to a distancetime equation to determine which of two moving objects has greater speed.
 8.EE.6
Use similar triangles to explain why the slope m is the same between any two distinct points on a nonvertical line in the coordinate plane; derive the equation y = mx for a line through the origin and the equation y = mx + b for a line intercepting the vertical axis at b.
 8.EE.1
Know and apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions. For example, 32 × 3–5 = 3–3 = 1/33 = 1/27.
 8.EE.2
Use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations of the form x2 = p and x3 = p, where p is a positive rational number. Evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes. Know that √2 is irrational.
 8.EE.3
Use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and to express how many times as much one is than the other. For example, estimate the population of the United States as 3 × 108 and the population of the world as 7 × 109, and determine that the world population is more than 20 times larger.
 8.EE.4
Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, including problems where both decimal and scientific notation are used. Use scientific notation and choose units of appropriate size for measurements of very large or very small quantities (e.g., use millimeters per year for seafloor spreading). Interpret scientific notation that has been generated by technology.
Measurement And Data
 5.MD.1
Convert among differentsized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multistep, real world problems.
 5.MD.3
Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures and understand concepts of volume measurement.
 5.MD.3.a
A cube with side length 1 unit, called a “unit cube,” is said to have “one cubic unit” of volume, and can be used to measure volume.
 5.MD.3.b
A solid figure which can be packed without gaps or overlaps using n unit cubes is said to have a volume of n cubic units.
 5.MD.4
Measure volumes by counting unit cubes, using cubic cm, cubic in, cubic ft, and improvised units.
 5.MD.5
Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition and solve real world and mathematical problems involving volume.
 5.MD.5.a
Find the volume of a right rectangular prism with wholenumber side lengths by packing it with unit cubes, and show that the volume is the same as would be found by multiplying the edge lengths, equivalently by multiplying the height by the area of the base. Represent threefold wholenumber products as volumes, e.g., to represent the associative property of multiplication.
 5.MD.5.b
Apply the formulas V=l×w×handV=b×h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole number edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems.
 5.MD.5.c
Recognize volume as additive. Find volumes of solid figures composed of two nonoverlapping right rectangular prisms by adding the volumes of the nonoverlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.
 5.MD.2
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. For example, given different measurements of liquid in identical beakers, find the amount of liquid each beaker would contain if the total amount in all the beakers were redistributed equally.
Number And Operations In Base Ten
 5.NBT.5
Fluently multiply multidigit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
Number And Operations—Fractions
 5.NF.3
Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. For example, interpret 3/4 as the result of dividing 3 by 4, noting that 3/4 multiplied by 4 equals 3, and that when 3 wholes are shared equally among 4 people each person has a share of size 3/4. If 9 people want to share a 50pound sack of rice equally by weight, how many pounds of rice should each person get? Between what two whole numbers does your answer lie?
 5.NF.4
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.
 5.NF.4.a
Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.)
 5.NF.4.b
Find the area of a rectangle with fractional side lengths by tiling it with unit squares of the appropriate unit fraction side lengths, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. Multiply fractional side lengths to find areas of rectangles, and represent fraction products as rectangular areas.
 5.NF.5
Interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing), by:
 5.NF.5.a
Comparing the size of a product to the size of one factor on the basis of the size of the other factor, without performing the indicated multiplication.
 5.NF.5.b
Explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction greater than 1 results in a product greater than the given number (recognizing multiplication by whole numbers greater than 1 as a familiar case); explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction less than 1 results in a product smaller than the given number; and relating the principle of fraction equivalence a/b = (n×a)/(n×b) to the effect of multiplying a/b by 1.
 5.NF.6
Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.
 5.NF.7
Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions.1
 5.NF.7.a
Interpret division of a unit fraction by a nonzero whole number, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for (1/3) ÷ 4, and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (1/3) ÷ 4 = 1/12 because (1/12) × 4 = 1/3.
 5.NF.7.b
Interpret division of a whole number by a unit fraction, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for 4 ÷ (1/5), and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that 4 ÷ (1/5) = 20 because 20 × (1/5) = 4.
 5.NF.7.c
Solve real world problems involving division of unit fractions by nonzero whole numbers and division of whole numbers by unit fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, how much chocolate will each person get if 3 people share 1/2 lb of chocolate equally? How many 1/3cup servings are in 2 cups of raisins?
 5.NF.1
Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers) by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions in such a way as to produce an equivalent sum or difference of fractions with like denominators. For example, 2/3 + 5/4 = 8/12 + 15/12 = 23/12. (In general, a/b + c/d = (ad + bc)/bd.)
 5.NF.2
Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
 3.OA.7
Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two onedigit numbers.
 4.OA.3
Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having wholenumber answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
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