By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Learning fractions can be very tricky, especially when you’re trying to keep track of the difference between a numerator and a denominator, or figuring out how to add and subtract when the bottom number is different. Don’t even get me started on flipping the fraction upside down when division enters the equation, or trying to turn an improper fraction into a mixed number! Well, if you’re looking for a colorful, entertaining, and visual way to master fractions, get ready to chop up lava and melt some ice in Slice Fractions!
The game’s idea is pretty simple: An adorable woolly mammoth is trying to get past ice blocks, so it’s up to you to hack-and-slash your way through lava in a way that melts the frost. However, you’ve got to pay close attention to the proper proportions – you know, the relation between two quantities. That means you’ll be comparing the ice to the lava, and subtly learning the differences between halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, and so on. You won’t even see a number on your screen until you’re 32 levels into the 60-level game, but by then the clever visual lessons will have hard-wired your mind for real math.
Slice Fractions has very clean graphics that bring a smile to your face (especially once you start unlocking hats for the woolly mammoth!) and the satisfying burn of lava on ice makes progress feel extra satisfying. The swiping controls that let you sever the ice are incredibly slick, and your finger will feel like a math knife as it darts across the screen. I was blazing through the levels (and the ice) so fast, racking my brain for the right patterns, that I didn’t even notice how fast the time was passing!
Seriously, I’ve never had so much fun doing math before. What’s especially impressive is how cleverly the game hides complicated fraction concepts beneath such simple game mechanics. I wish they’d used this app in class! However, the app is a bit too easy, not offering any advanced challenges for students wanting to up their game. Also, several of the levels are repetitive, and are nearly identical clones of other ones with just a few shapes switched around. This lack of variety and lack of higher difficulties brings down what’s otherwise a finely crafted app. Our final verdict? A solid “B+”.
Images courtesy of Ululab.