The Digits: Fraction Blast can be incorporated into an introductory classroom lesson about fractions or as fractions practice by individual kids or small groups, so accomplishments can be tracked. It's important that kids have the opportunity to move on to the next segment when ready, or review/play with one segment more if they've not quite grasped the concept yet before they move on. Visit The Digits blog, to find out more ways to use its media partner resources, printables, and more.Continue reading Show less
The Digits: Fraction Blast is a math learning app that takes the form of a TV show-like "appisode." The zany main characters include one human female, one alien male, and a robot. Together they form a space-traveling band, The Digits. Their evil nemesis, record label owner Doomfinger, is perpetually out to get them. Numerous challenges arise during the comedic drama that all somehow can be solved using fractions. FUN-da, the app's developer, takes this app far beyond the usual experience to help teachers incorporate the show's theme and characters in the classroom, using partnerships with YouTube educational videos, Skype In The Classroom, and the PBS LearningMedia library.
Once teachers create a user account for each player, kids can just follow along as if they're watching a TV episode. However, as the intro explains, "This isn't one of those things you can sit and watch ... we need your help." Interactive elements -- like "breaking" the screen in half by shaking it and then pinching it back together -- pop up throughout the show. Some include direct fraction problem-solving, while others are just for fun. The interactive elements all clearly appear as such on the screen, and verbal directions often accompany them. Results of app sessions are automatically emailed to a teacher's email address, along with extension activity ideas. As kids finish each segment of the show (about as long as most PBS educational shows), they earn a cool achievement icon.
PBS's Learning Network has given a nod to The Digits' educational quality, including it in the online video library called PBS LearningMedia. Kids can learn many fractions concepts, starting as simple as "What is a half?" to more difficult concepts like equivalent fractions. The lessons and fun, storyline-related practice in fractions are clear and memorable. There's nothing inappropriate here, but some yelling between the good character and the bad character borders on screaming in each others' faces; teachers may want to clarify for kids that's not good communication. Overall, The Digits: Fraction Blast is a great way to introduce kids to fractions concepts via a silly space adventure story with endearing characters.
Key Standards Supported
Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc., and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.
Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.
Number And Operations—Fractions
Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.
Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.