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Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication
Pros: Careful scaffolding ensures that students really master what it means to multiply and divide.
Cons: Gameplay may not help kids with the speed part of fluency since the focus is on understanding.
Bottom Line: An excellent app that uses arrays as tools to teach multiplication and division.
Llama Drama works best if you start with Animal Arrays and then move in the order directed. As students begin building arrays, the first direction is to find the animals. Kids may need some verbal guidance to know that this means they should drag the animals into the pens. As they get started, let the students struggle a little. Instead of telling them what to do, ask questions like, “Are all the goats in one pen?” or “How could you rearrange this to make it work?” When kids are first making arrays, two different students might create two different-shaped arrays to get the same answer. Give kids time to pause and compare so that they can see the commutative property at work. Hints, locks, and sounds can be turned off or on in settings. Anyone can get into the settings by clicking on the button that says "grown-ups" and reading the directions.
In Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication, kids organize objects into equal rows in order to visualize what it means to multiply and divide. Using these arrays, they build their own multiplication tables and discover tricks to learn facts faster. Kids also break apart and put together arrays, building early factoring ideas important in later math.
Initial tasks help kids learn how to use the app through simple gameplay: By dragging and dropping different animals, users begin by sorting similar animals into the right pens, automatically making their first arrays. Kids get silly feedback like Grumpy Goats when they get it right. If they get stuck, there are hints to coach them along.
Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication emphasizes conceptual learning instead of just memorizing multiplication and division facts. Kids build their own understanding by adding rows and columns to the array and figuring out their multiplication tables for themselves. The fun visual images help kids see that 2x5 is the same as 5x2, cutting back the number of facts they have to "memorize" or learn. If kids have already memorized their math facts, the app still forces them to build the array, ensuring that students can create multiple representations of different math facts.
Kids might initially get a little confused because the array that helps them visualize 2x5=10 is the same array for 10÷5=2. Hopefully this will help kids start to think about fact families and learning multiplication and division together. Overall, this app is a masterpiece of scaffolded learning: Kids piece together multiplication and division bit by bit and have fun along the way.