AppStore User Rating:
Slice Fractions offers a wordless, hands-on walk through basic fraction concepts such as the meaning of the numerator and denominator, equivalent fractions, and fraction ordering. Players have to solve physics problems by slicing objects and removing barriers to movement at the correct times and places to progress through the game.
- Demonstrates fraction concepts without words
- Includes over 60 problems
- Challenges prediction and planning skills
- Engaging and realistic animations
- Supports Common Core Standards
Slice Fractions is well-designed and engaging. Designers have managed to incorporate familiar game elements with popular physics puzzles to make the app interesting and challenging at just the right levels to appeal to school-aged learners. Experiential learning is a powerful and often underutilized tool in education, and it’s very nice to see it implemented so well in this app.
Know a visual learner? Someone who is having trouble understanding basic fraction concepts taught in the traditional ways? Anyone who needs to practice fraction concepts to truly internalize them? This app is perfect for all of these situations and more. Slice Fractions takes an innovative and unique approach to teaching concepts such as part to whole, whole to part, naming fractions, equivalent fractions, and ordering fractions that most students will find fun and refreshing.
The levels of the app progress through some basic how-to-use-it puzzles, then gets into the meat of working with fractions. Each screen shows the main character, a cute little mastodon, who wants to travel across the scene but cannot because of ice chunks that block his way. The chunks are in various sizes, representing fractional parts. Up above, pieces of lava are held in place with elaborate arrangements of chains and bubbles. Users must choose the correctly-sized piece of lava (or create it by slicing into portions) to match the ice below, then figure out how to land it in the correct place. If the user doesn’t figure it out the first time, there is opportunity to reset the task and try something different. After several resets, more direct clues begin to appear that will guide users before they get too frustrated.
I really liked the progression of difficulty used in this activity. The developers covered all the bases, beginning with helping learners understand what fractions are and how they are named. There is practice provided that will reinforce the idea that fractions are equal portions, as well. It’s not enough to simply approximate the correct number of pieces; they must be sliced exactly evenly to get the job done.
It’s easy for teachers to see the exact Common Core connections, as well. The app shows which activities correlate to which objectives, and if users have accessed them yet. One suggestion would be to allow records on multiple users. That would make the system a whole lot more useful in classroom settings. Another would be to provide a reset button, so that users could start again on the entire sequence.
Slice Fractions is quite entertaining, and manages to teach simple fractions concepts using activities and artwork that would be enjoyable for students of nearly any age group. This makes it very useful for remedial or special education students, as well as the target age group of young to middle elementary learners.
The intriguing puzzles add a lot of entertainment value to the app. They are motivating and force students to figure out the target concepts as well as to solve physics puzzles by calculating reactions, where items will fall or swing to, and which fractions match up with equivalent fractions, though they are different shapes.
The little mastodon main character is engaging, and I loved the way he looked annoyed when the user makes an incorrect move in the puzzle. After each completed level, he adds another crazy hat to his collection, which will appeal to younger users.
With over 60 puzzle screens, this app is a great value if you are searching for a way to teach or review basic fractions concepts. It will provide an extended playtime for users as they work to solve the puzzles, yet has built-in safeguards to minimize frustration. The only problem I see is that there is no way to reset the entire app. Once a user has played through the puzzles, the record keeping can’t be reset to start over, and it is a bit challenging even to get back to the first puzzle. It can be done by returning to the home screen, opening the list of all levels (the icon with the six dots), then touching the level you wish to review.
This app is child-friendly, with no outside advertisements or in-app purchases. There is a protected Parents Area that holds links to social media, email, the developers’ website, and a contact form. Some of the links do open up the browser and allow access to the internet. The Parents Area is not difficult to access, though. The security screen asks users to enter the year they were born, and will accept any year that shows the user is over age thirteen. Since the audience for this app is likely to be gaining reading skills, children could conceivably access the protected area pretty easily.