Addictive and adaptive games to help kids build math fact fluency
What's It Like?
Reflex: Math Fact Fluency teaches math facts for addition and subtraction for numbers 0-10, and multiplication and division for numbers 0-12. It's best for students who already understand basic math operations and need practice to improve speed and accuracy.
A character named Crabby walks kids through the setup. Kids then answer a set of questions to determine their starting fluency. They can choose from a selection of games appropriate for their level. Each game starts with Coach Penny giving them some rules like "Subtracting a number from itself equals 0." Kids practice that rule, and once they demonstrate understanding, they get to play the game to build their speed. As they progress, they earn tokens to redeem for online "prizes."
Is It Good for Learning?
Kids gain fluency by learning "fact families," in which they focus on a set of facts for a group of numbers. Subtraction and addition are paired and taught together. Similarly, multiplication and division facts are taught as a family. This strategy helps kids understand inverse operations and reduces the total number of math facts they have to learn.
Reflex is adaptive, removing the facts kids already know as they play, which keeps them challenged and wards off boredom. For some math rules, kids may "discover" the math rule simply by playing the game. If not, there's always Coach Penny's tutorial to offer help and support. With Reflex's game-based structure, kids are empowered to own their learning.
Coach Penny’s Picture Puzzle – A practice game in which kids answer math facts to create a puzzle.
Ninja to the Stars – Guide a ninja up platforms by getting the math facts right.
Speed Cube Challenge – An assessment game where kids answer math facts to open a cube.
How Can Teachers Use It?
Reflex is most effective if used regularly for shorter periods of time (15 minutes). Students should end the game wanting more. This will keep kids from getting bored and allow them to become fluent more quickly. Kids can work on Reflex at home or in school. They can track their growth using the Progress Tree, and parents and teachers can view individual reports showing usage and fluency gained. The audio and sound effects could be distracting to others, so be sure students have headphones.