We’ve brought our game Fractions to the web with a new character, a new name, and seven times (!) more levels. Fractions was Motion Math’s first game, and in addition to winning awards such as the Serious Play Gold Medal, it was found in the first published efficacy study of an educational app to improve students’ test results by 15% and improve math attitudes by 10% after only a week of usage. We wanted to make sure that the laptop/desktop web version would be even better than the tablet version, even though we wouldn’t be able to use the tablet’s accelerometer tilt controls.
We started by expanding the game’s target audience. The essence of the gameplay is landing a bouncing ball to the correct place on a fixed number line. That’s a relevant skill for younger students who are still years away from learning about fractions, so we added several sets of levels featuring counting numbers: 1 to 5, 1 to 10, 0 to 20, 0 to 100, 0 to 1000, and 0 to 10,000. These levels will help preschool and early elementary learners estimate integers, compare the size of different integers, develop automaticity with number sight words (“ten”), and master new orders of magnitude (the difference between 9, 90, 900, and 9000, for example).
Targeting younger learners also motivated us to change the game’s name from Fractions to Bounce and to add a new character – Bounce the Monkey – who tightly holds onto the bouncing ball on its journey upwards.
Next, we added much more granularity to our fractions levels. Now there are sets of levels specifically devoted to numerator/denominator fractions – starting with levels that only include unit fractions (½, ⅓, ¼, etc.) – percentages, decimals, pie charts, and a Fractions Fiesta category with a mix of those four (the upper levels get very difficult.) On the tablet, this game had 3 sets of levels, the new Bounce has 21!
Lastly, we designed new controls. As we did for our game Match, we tried many different keyboard and mouse control options before settling on arrow controls: left and right to guide the bouncing ball, and down (or the spacebar) to slam the ball straight down onto the number line. We also experimented with our tutorial and with the ball’s speed to make sure it felt bouncy, but still controllable.
We’ll soon bring the redesigned Bounce to the iPad and other hardware. Try it out on the web and let us know what you think!