Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
There is a teacher login, but it only seems to work if a school buys a classroom set of licenses, so a single teacher or parent will not have access to the teacher dashboard to follow the progress of their student. However, for teachers with students who work well by themselves and want to review material at their own pace, or for a small group that wants to work together, this game could have some value as a tool to review or brush up on previously learned algebraic skills.Continue reading Show less
The basic premise is attractive to gamers, especially those who like role-playing games. The story follows a boy named Pi who mysteriously loses his friend in a cave. When he escapes the cave, he finds a little town where all the citizens have forgotten to do math. Pi goes on quests to help the townsfolk with their math problems, and gets clues to the fate of his friend along the way. Some of the math problems are in a "traditional quiz" format, and some are posed to the player through the story itself. The missions are quick enough that it makes you want to do another one.
Like many games of this type, however, the story is not integrated well with the math topics. The skills are tested in a traditional manner, and if students want to relearn the material, they have the choice of reading a textbook or watching a recorded whiteboard lecture. All of this could be forgiven if it worked, but it doesn't. It freezes often, basic movement seems to work on and off, and the design is showing its age severely. Most students expect something more sophisticated and user-friendly than what this game offers.
The math drills themselves are effective. The concepts match with what algebra students should know. However, it's assumed students know the material, and it's up to them and the teacher to use resources if help is needed. It's not recommended for students learning the concepts for the first time; if they've never seen some of the topics, they're likely going to turn to Google to find other ways to learn the material. Given The Lost Function's technical issues and price point, it would be an easier sell if material were better scaffolded rather than leaning on prior knowledge or outside resources.
Key Standards Supported
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.
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.
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.
Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world 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.
Solve real-world 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.
Write an inequality of the form x > c or x < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world 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.
Know and apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions. For example, 32 × 3–5 = 3–3 = 1/33 = 1/27.
Understand that a function is a rule that assigns to each input exactly one output. The graph of a function is the set of ordered pairs consisting of an input and the corresponding output.1
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