# Games

## Middle School Math

## ▼ Wiki Jones

*Wiki Jones* is a game focused on the number line and identifying fractions on the number line. The game addresses the concepts of the whole unit and the numerator and denominator of a fraction.

In the narrative, a detective named Wiki Jones is investigating a mystery in the school cafeteria. Players help Wiki Jones find the perpetrator by performing actions on the number line. The narrative is split into five scenes, with each scene requiring the player to perform a different task that builds towards writing the fraction represented by the number line. In the first scene, the player must identify the whole unit by bagging each unit of evidence. In the second scene, the player must use a laser to cut each unit of evidence into equal pieces (the denominator) for analysis. In the third scene, the player must follow a recipe that requires a certain number of equal pieces (the numerator). In the fourth scene, the player has tracked the crooks and found they have placed firecrackers in the sprinkler pipes and must therefore locate and defuse the firecrackers given a fraction. In the fifth scene, the crooks are hiding in a library so the player must input a fraction that matches the shaded portion of the number line, so a crane can locate and hoist each crook to be apprehended.

In the first scene, the player only needs to identify the whole unit. In later scenes, the task order is adapted to the player’s performance. If players are having trouble with dividing the whole unit or locating the fraction, they are directed to identify each whole unit on the number line first, and then continue with the task in the scene.

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C080015 to the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).

## ▼ Save Patch

*Save Patch* is an educational video game designed to promote student understanding of two foundational ideas about fractions and rational number addition: (a) the size of a rational number is relative to how one whole unit is defined; and (b) only identical units can be added to create a single numerical sum.

The goal of this game is to reach a cat statue across an archeological dig site. The challenge lies in only being able to travel on a one- or two-dimensional grid along a rope path, where the player must determine the correct length of rope to be strung between posts. In addition, on some levels, the player is required to stop at prescribed points (denoted by gold signposts). Players are given a set number of rope pieces to build the rope path; rope pieces are added to signposts to prescribe the distance the character will walk. For example, if you add a one-unit rope piece to a signpost, the character will walk exactly one unit. In the game, one whole unit is always the distance between two large gray posts. Rope pieces can be added to a signpost to increase the distance the character will walk; however, only identical rope pieces can be added together. While any size rope piece can be placed on the signpost initially, subsequent rope pieces can only be added to the signpost if they are the same size. Whole unit (integer) rope pieces are also added one at a time to signposts, reinforcing the meaning of addition with integers.

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C080015 to the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).

## ▼ Tlaloc's Book

*Tlaloc's Book* is an educational video game designed to improve students' understanding of the effects of the operations of multiplication and division on quantities, multiplicative relationships, and the relationships between whole numbers and fractions.

The game challenges players to overcome barriers they encounter during their adventurous journey through a mysterious jungle. Players move through the jungle by choosing to move left or right, or jump. Players encounter barriers which prevent them from moving forward or reaching valuable items required to overcome the barriers. By using the numbers and operations they collect and store in their backpack, players can change the height of platforms. The player uses the platforms to overcome barriers. All tasks in Tlaloc's Book involve using a multiplicative comparison to change the platform height to a target height. The platform height is denoted on the platform, and the target height is denoted on a signpost. The height of the base of the signpost is to scale with the height denoted on the platform. The height on the platform is updated with each player action, which is composed of the choice of an available operator, either multiplication or division, and the choice of a scalar from the backpack.

**Teacher Notebook: Tlaloc's Book **

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C080015 to the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).

## ▼ Rosie's Rates

*Rosie's Rates* is a game that takes players through the initial steps of slope derivation given a table of x and y values. The goal of the game is to help Rosie the robot exchange currency for her customers by first finding the change in y and change in x and eventually completing the equation y = mx. Players are challenged to be as speedy as possible or face unhappy alien customers. Each level brings a new customer with a new table of numbers, and each new planet brings players one step closer to completing the equation. Players help build Rosie's storefront when they complete each level successfully. Additionally, players may earn bonuses at each planet.

## ▼ AlgebRock

*AlgebRock* is a platform game in the domain of solving equations. As players encounter barriers or treasure chests, they are required to correctly solve an equation before proceeding.

The goal of this game is to collect your band’s musical instruments that have been hidden by evil robots. Players run and jump through levels using the keyboard. As players complete the levels, they amass the instruments needed for the band. Players solve algebraic equations to pass blockades and secure treasures.

Players use the arrow keys to run and the space bar to jump. To solve equations, players must supply the next steps of the equation to correctly isolate *x*.

## ▼ Expresso

*Expresso* is a puzzle game about the manipulation of expressions. The player is presented with a limited set of elements and machines. Each element represents an expression and may contain any combination of positive or negative whole numbers and variables. The machines provided to the player represent the arithmetic operators. Each machine may require one or two elements to be placed on the machine's platforms before it can be operated. Players use the machines to manipulate the elements into the goal state and in a specific format. The goal state is represented as a mathematical expression, and the format of the goal state is restricted by the number of answer balls the player is required to fill.

Early levels of the game require the player to manipulate a small number of elements with only one or two machines to create simple expressions. As the game progresses, new mathematical concepts and techniques are introduced and practiced. In later levels, the goal states become more complex and require creative manipulations of the elements. This challenging problem-solving environment requires the player to explore the meaning of each operator and the rules governing the order of operations.

## ▼ Monster Line

In **Monster Line**, various monsters are attacking a city. Their goal is to reach and destroy the tall building which has its location on the number line denoted by a number at the bottom of the screen. In a round, the player fires one or more pie launchers at the monsters. Each pie launcher has an integer (its location on the number line) and an operation associated with it. The player can supply either a positive or negative integer for each pie launcher, with the intent that the resulting sum, difference, product, or quotient will equal the location of one of the monsters on the number line.

Every round, each monster moves a certain number of spaces along the number line. Each monster moves a different number of spaces, so some of them will advance more quickly toward the target building. Monsters can also destroy pie launchers if they are allowed to advance along the number line to the location of the launcher.

Each monster may require more than one pie to hit it before being defeated, so depending on the number of pie launchers and monsters in the level, the student may need to go through multiple rounds. Pie launchers with either division or multiplication operators may not be able to be used in every round, but pies launched by these operators will destroy a monster in one hit, so they are more powerful than the subtraction and addition pie launchers, which take three pies before a monster is destroyed.

**Teacher Notebook: Monster Line **