Disclosure: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions stated here are 100% mine, and I was not required to post a positive review.
Ah, the early years of homeschool math… when two plus one equals three. Even if the child has a hard time grasping this concept, you the teacher are fully confident that two plus one does in fact equal three, and it’s something you can teach in your sleep.
And then higher math hits.
To some math is easy and comes naturally. To the rest of us mortals, struggle, tears, whining and flat out frustration seem to come attached to higher levels of math.
And I know that day is coming when I will look my child’s math assignment and there will be tears (from me, not them).
That’s why I’m always on the lookout for awesome ways to not only teach higher math concepts, but to potentially introduce these tricky concepts before they “officially” learn them in a math curriculum.
Because—I’m just being honest—higher math ain’t my thang, and as a teacher, I need all the help I can get.
That’s why I was so happy to check out the DragonBox app: an interactive (and may I add, highly sneaky) way to introduce kids to higher math concepts like algebra and geometry. There are apps to teach both concepts, and this post shares about our experience with the DragonBox Elements app (which teaches geometry).
How Does the DragonBox App Teach Higher Math?
In a nutshell, kids are given a variety of “puzzles” (an assembly of lines, shapes and other game characters) that they must arrange or click on in a certain way in order to progress through the various levels. And in the process of solving these “puzzles”, they learn geometric shapes and complex theorems.
Here’s the kicker (and how they intuitively learn the higher math concepts effortlessly): to pass to the next level, the different parts of the “puzzle” must be solved in a specific order. They must arrange the pieces in such a way as to create or unlock game characters.
I know, I know. Explaining it in words just doesn’t have the same effect.
So here’s a few videos to see the game in action.
How It Works:
What I Appreciate About the DragonBox App
I like that the game forces the child to use logic and reasoning to figure out the puzzle in each level. I also like that DragonBox’s game characters sound, hmm, strikingly familiar to key geometric shapes (wink, wink).
Concepts slowly build on each other as the child advances through the game, which is nice.
Because the game can both introduce and reinforce concepts, I also appreciate that one game can be used by multiple children at different levels.
I wouldn’t use the DragonBox App as the main teaching method for math or geometry, but it is a excellent reinforcement for concepts learned, or for introducing new material.
I do love, however, that DragonBox offers supplemental guides for parents so that they can explain the concepts in the game. These give parents the opportunity to interact with their child as they’re going through the app. For some puzzles, I found it helpful to sit with my son as he went through the game to explain why some solutions worked and others didn’t. I could say, “Those lines have those two things on them because they are parallel, and to solve the puzzle, it wants you to click on both of them to acknowledge that they are parallel.”
And of course, the greatest part of the game is that, by default, they end up learning the geometric theorems behind why the puzzles work.
Yes, Higher Math Can Be Addictive
If you get stuck, the game does offer hints. But if you’re still stuck (and we were a few times), DragonBox has put together You Tube videos that walk you through each level.
I found these especially important for my seven year old when she began working through the game. Some of it was less intuitive for her simply because she wasn’t as advanced in math.
But there’s some seriously complex stuff here! That’s why it’s awesome that you can select the game play as “easy,” “normal” or “hard, depending on the child’s knowledge and comfort with the subject matter.
This also comes in handy when your child becomes obsessed with the game (mine did) and, after several intense sessions of being curled up on the couch lost in the DragonBox world, finishes the levels… and then is sad that the game is over. “Yes! Play it again on a higher level, son!” I said.
Evidently my kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy the DragonBox app. Last week I walked into a random conversation between a group of fellow moms at a party and guess what they were talking about? Yep, they were commiserating over their children’s obsession with the DragonBox apps! (I promise I am not making this up!)
Win a Copy of the DragonBox App
Or, you can win a copy right here! DragonBox is giving away a total of 100 people access to the web-based versions of the algebra and geometry apps. (No mobile device is necessary.) This is valid for anyone in the world!
Here’s the link to enter: