Loved by children as young as five (and adults too!), Motion Math gives learners a physical experience of the number line and an intuitive feeling for fractions. Fractions are a notoriously difficult area for many; if a learner never gains a gut sense for fractions, it can impede progress in more advanced forms of math. One reason fractions are tough is that they can be written in so many different ways! Motion Math helps learners perceive and estimate many important representations — numerator over denominator (1/2), percents (50%), decimals (.5), and even pie charts! By connecting each type with its distance on the number line, learners can develop a fast, accurate perception of fractions.
A recent controlled study of Motion Math on the iPad showed that after playing the game for 20 minutes for 5 days:
- 5th graders improved 15% on fractions test scores, a significant increase compared to the control group.
- Students' attitudes and confidence towards fractions improved an average of 10%.
The Motion Math game follows a star trying to return from earth to its home in a far-away galaxy. Moving up through different levels motivates a player to keep playing and keep learning, while bonus levels practice an important variation on the number line theme – is a fraction more or less than another fraction? Progress stars, sound effects, star effects, exclamations ("Yes!" "Perfect!") and bonus points reward a player for correctly knowing, and correctly aiming, the problems.
Children's Technology Review
Editor's Choice Award for Excellence in Design – 4.5 Stars. "Dynamic…you move your way toward a better understanding of numerical relationships, one bounce at a time."
The Wall Street Journal Tech Blog
"Kids do better with fractions if they can develop a visceral understanding of them…The long-term goal is to develop an infrastructure that includes data on how people play and solve problems."
"The execution is phenomenally entertaining and challenging…educationally stunning"
Motion Math was first developed at the Stanford School of Education, and was inspired by academic research into embodied cognition, the idea that connecting one's body to abstract concepts can deepen understanding. The game tightly connects the gameplay with learning: you have to know your fractions to make it back up to space. Tilt controls make for fun gameplay and help reinforce the learner's physical connection to the content, turning the mobile device into a virtual manipulative — a way to physically interact with math.
|Motion Math iPhone app||$1.99||Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.|
|Motion Math HD iPad app||$2.99||Compatible with iPad.|
Motion Math allowed my intermediate elementary students deepen their understanding of common fractions, equivalent fractions and how they relate to percentages using linear models.
The mathematical concepts and reasoning are expressed very well in the game design and the graphics are quite attractive to kids. I especially like that fractions are represented along a number line which makes more sense than the usual area models.
The only weakness is that the game is designed for single-user, which necessitates a dedicated device to one student. The students suggested that the game should allow them to compete with other players.
I was inspired by the research conducted by Michelle Riconscente that I tried to replicate it among our 4th graders in two settings: as an after-school club and in the classroom. And the results were pretty encouraging: there was a significant improvement in knowledge scores and attitude towards fractions after using the app.
Motion based allowed for too many mistakes when child played. More “Activity” focused than real math. Cost for schools is prohibitive for what it does.
MotionMath is definitely a good way for kids to learn math, especially fractions. As we know, math is a difficult subject for kids especially for those who don't like it. Every bit of technology helps these kids in learning. As kids just like to play around with an iPad all the time, this is a good way to introduce math as an enjoyable subject to them. This game is not just entertaining but is also a good way to learn. So, I recommend this app to any parent who wants there kid to be smart and be on top of their class.
I downloaded MotionMath for my children's iPad. As I do with all educational apps on the iPad for my kids, I simply let them discover MotionMath on their own. Only, they didn't discover it. So, I pointed my seven year old to it. He enjoyed the fraction game with the bouncing objects for a few minutes, then lost interest. My impression from watching over his shoulder was that he was learning, and the game was appropriately adaptive, but the fun factor was limited. That is fine with me. Not all learning games need to be fun so long as they inspire real learning. I think this one does that, and the Gamedesk study of Motion Math done in SoCal corroborates this.
In sum, I think MotionMath is likely a good supplement to a basic math skills curriculum, but it may not be as sticky as the more immersive environments like Dreambox, Sokikom, and MangaHigh – and that's okay.