The lessons, challenges, and searching pathways to complete adventure tasks in ProblemScape create a saga of a game not intended to be completed in one sitting. Luckily, chapters break pre-algebraic skills into manageable pieces. Teachers can direct students to the Xpert Notebook as a pre-teaching lesson or as an independent learning activity in a flipped classroom. The notebook offers a chance to learn from a video, observe using click-through activities, and practice with self-checking problems. Creating teams and encouraging students to problem-solve together could help during the adventure tasks, as some text instructions can't always be revisited, and the player perspective doesn't always match the map's orientation. Make sure to check out the teacher resources, like the rationale, instructions, and pacing guide.
Questions in each chapter and Xpert Notebook page are the same for every player, creating an opportunity for group work as well as whole-class discussion. Teachers should be aware that students can't revisit these questions once they're complete. Once players are signed up, administrators have access to chapter progression only, so using this app for assessment or scoring purposes isn't recommended. Traveling the pathways of Arithma searching for the next location can also take some time, so teachers should monitor play and help refocus students when necessary.Continue reading Show less
ProblemScape is an immersive experience that includes learning and practice activities designed to stretch a player's pre-algebraic skills. Players must be signed up through an adult's administrator account but then have access to the adventures with simple usernames and passwords.
Arithma is a world where all math experts have mysteriously disappeared. A Quest Log, star-marked map, and friendly characters all offer directions and guidance as kids explore Arithma. At the time of review, only four of the eight chapters are accessible. Each chapter includes a series of adventure tasks as well as a set of practice opportunities for two foundational skills that correspond with Common Core State Standards 6th grade Expressions and Equations strand. Given an Xpert Notebook, and occasionally crossing the path of a Ypert Diaries page, players are given the opportunity to learn, review, or practice, and then must use their own math expertise to find the missing math experts.
ProblemScape is a solid example of how math can integrate into a narrative and be part of an overall experience with context. In terms of instruction, the teaching videos offer more than steps of an algorithm. Instead, lessons use in-depth, but very clear, demonstrations of each mathematical concept. Although the chapter lessons are self-contained, the videos and practice from previous chapters remain part of the Xpert Notebook for students to reference at any time.
To access deeper learning, players are often asked to explain or rethink strategies, and multistep problems are broken down into bite-size pieces, encouraging students to think them through. Specific feedback on errors is offered, and correct answers are revealed after second attempts, along with a redirection to use the video or guided practice. Steep reading levels, heavily text-based instruction, and a totally self-guided adventure seem more appropriate for older, more independent learners. And, unfortunately, it makes it a tough fit for kids who might struggle with all of that text. More supports would improve the experience and make it accessible to more students.
Key Standards Supported
Expressions And Equations
Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents.
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
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.
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.
Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in real-world 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.
Apply the properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions.
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.