Teachers can use Shifu Plugo to have students play games to practice basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts as well as adding and subtracting numbers within 1,000. Yes, most kids would prefer these games over worksheets, but ultimately it's skill and drill. Most of the math games seem to be designed for the youngest learners, with questions like "What number is lower?" and "What number comes before?" and "How many mushrooms do you see?" K-2 students would likely enjoy the repetitive nature and pleasing visuals of these games. Teachers will find that questions appropriately increase in difficulty, and students will receive immediate feedback on whether they answered correctly. Although the games can be played individually, students will likely benefit from working with a partner to solve problems.
You may notice your students gravitating toward the puzzle games, which are more likely to appeal to all K-4 learners. You'll watch students firing up their neurons using logic and working memory to solve these puzzles. In one game, students see an image that they must reconstruct with the Plugo Link. As students build, hints are accessible along the way. In another, they use the links to link rotating gears together or create a structure that helps move a pipe carrying water. There's also an activity that's a fun variation of a word find. Like the math activities, these games lend themselves to partner work. In this context, students will also practice their cooperative skills.Continue reading Show less
Shifu Plugo is an augmented reality (AR) app for Android and iOS that works with unique magnetic manipulatives and a gamepad. The gamepad has a magnetized playing area to place these special pieces. The Shifu Plugo app uses the device's camera to see the manipulatives as students play, matching their corresponding actions on the screen. The gamepad and pieces feel durable enough for classroom use, and the gamepad firmly grips the device placed inside it.
In Plugo Count, students place numbers up to three digits long on a small three-pronged play piece to answer questions. Each math game is relatively similar, using quality graphics and sound; several involve answering questions to move characters along in their journey. In Plugo Link, students use the magnetic hexagonal pieces to build structures that solve the on-screen puzzles. For example, each tile may represent a gear, which must be connected to a start and finish gear so that all gears rotate. There are other upcoming Shifu Plugo products, such as Letters and Tunes, which aren't a part of this review.
Shifu Plugo Count and Link are good for learning but have room to grow. While the math is essentially skill and drill, the puzzles provide opportunities for students to build, experiment, and work on logic-related skills. Many teachers will appreciate that kids are mostly using real objects instead of a screen. One issue is a game where students solve basic math equations such as 3 + 5, 7 x 8, or 34 +97+ 64 (division, fractions, word problems, and more are under development). During multiplication problems, the astronaut asks for the "total" instead of the "product." Many teachers will consider this a grievous error. A smaller issue is that the astronaut's dialogue doesn't always match the captions, and sometimes contain code such as <br>, which may be confusing for some kids. Overall, there's a missed opportunity to use a breadth of math vocabulary. For instance, for 6 + 2, the question students hear might be "What is the total?" Supplying more types of questions, such as "What is the sum?" or "Six add two equals?" or "If the addends are six and two, what is the total?" -- or even "Six and two equals?" -- would give students more exposure to various math terms.
There are also a few gameplay issues. In some games, if players don't remove their pieces before the next question starts, the Shifu Plugo may get confused and score the student as incorrect. Getting the wrong answer this way may frustrate some players. An improvement would be to not transition to the next question until the Shifu sees that the digits are cleared.
Shifu Plugo has some limitations for classroom use. Teachers can select the operations they want students to use so that students can stay only within addition, subtraction, multiplication, or a combination of them. However, it seems possible to create only two different profiles. The profiles don't store student performance, so teachers won't be able to use it for assessment or track what students have accomplished. A similar issue is that there's no limit on the number of hints students can use -- and the hints give away the correct answer.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.1
Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a “ten.” b.
The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).
Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. Understand the following as special cases:
Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Add up to four two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three- digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.
Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10–90 (e.g., 9 × 80, 5 × 60) using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right. For example, recognize that 700 ÷ 70 = 10 by applying concepts of place value and division.
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