Math Doodles is a game designed for the iPad with three different mathematically minded challenges that lead gamers through skills such as mathematical thinking, number sense, addition and subtraction and algebraic thinking. Each of the three challenges, Summ Stacker, Connect Sums, and Unknown Squares, includes a level of customization around difficulty, numeric systems, and the types of challenges.
Sum Stacker gives players three to four stacks of numbers, which can be customized to various number systems like dice, money, or Chinese numerals. Under each stack is a target number; players move their dice or coins or numbers around until each stack equals the target number. Simple enough. However, the game can be played against a timer or with the goal to create the sum in the least number of moves possible.
Connect Sum begins with a four-by-four grid of random sums. A target number is given at the top, and the player must circle numbers on the grid that add up to that sum. The goal of the game is to clear all numbers on the grid by selecting numbers that add up to the target sum. The game can use different number systems (even mixes of number systems) on the same grid.
Unknown Squares aims to help to develop algebraic thinking skills by using a four-by-three grid of numbers and variables. Each row on the grid adds up to a target number. Players use their number sense to replace the variables with a number. Put it on the 'Hard" setting and players confront a grid entirely made of of variables--something that tests their ability to combine variables and come up with the desired sum.
Each game has the same options (various number systems, difficulty levels, challenges and so on.) Challenge modes include solving random sets in the fewest moves, playing in infinity mode (which gives players unlimited time) and in race mode (in which players race to gain points before time runs out). The game comes with a large list of numeric systems that can be applied, from simple options (dice, fingers, tally marks) to more complex (area fractions, Chinese numbers and even Braille).
Math Doodles is a fine way to get students thinking more creatively about math and have fun (either in class or at home). It is not a formal instructional system.
Math Doodles is available on the iTunes store for $2.99. The app is only available on iPad and scores a 93 out of 100 in the iTunes scoring system.
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