Teachers can use Refraction to introduce fractions, but it'll probably work better as a post-lesson practice tool. This way, students can better understand what Refraction is trying to do by merging fractions with laser bending and splitting. Used as such, it's an ideal tool particularly for homework -- it's likely to get students more excited than traditional exercises, doesn't take up an extended amount of time, and doesn't require any software or purchases. As an at-home tool, however, it would be even better if there were a teacher dashboard where you could track student progress when they play at home or in class.Continue reading Show less
In Refraction, students bend and split lasers around obstacles in an effort to solve a puzzle and save stranded animal space explorers. But Refraction isn't just a puzzle game -- it's also about fractions. As the puzzles get more difficult, students not only bend the lasers around obstacles to reach their goal, they also split the lasers into separate weaker beams, fractions of the original full-strength laser. In theory, this puzzle-solving helps students learn and apply the ideas of basic fraction manipulation. There are helpful instructions and hints throughout, though no major documentation is included.
While an engaging and somewhat beneficial format for learning and applying fractions, this is no slam dunk. What Refraction needs is an intuitive and explicit connection between the action of splitting and bending the lasers and the manipulation of fractions outside of the game. This could take the form of additional levels that get students working with fractions in more authentic settings, until students are using fractions in a clear, numeric system as is required outside of the game. As it stands, this missing formative step is left up to the teacher, limiting Refraction to homework or supplemental practice.
Key Standards Supported
Number And Operations—Fractions
Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n × a)/(n × b) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size. Use this principle to recognize and generate equivalent fractions.
Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
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.