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Friday, August 9, 2013

App Review: 4 Dice Fraction Games

First of all, if you are reading this on Friday August 9, 2013 hurry to iTunes and download 4 Dice: Fraction Games today while it is FREE!! Don't worry-I can wait.......  Great! Now if you weren't able to get it for free, don't worry as the $1.99 you are paying is well worth it. If you recently attending our iPad Apps for Kids course this app is created by the same developers of the 5 Dice Order of Operations app that we recommended in our primary math session.  Designed for upper elementary and middle school students and up, this app provides a fun way to practice fractions in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division.  Each game mode has two levels, essentially an easier and a harder level.  
Basically, you are given four dice that you shake by either shaking the device or pressing the roll icon. You are then given a target fraction that you have to 'get to' by using the four dice to create a number sentence in whatever game play mode you are in (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division).  There is also a challenge mode that incorporates all four modes of game play.  When you think you have the correct answer you then shoot the arrow at the target fraction and it will tell you if you are correct or not.  It would be nice if it would offer a tutorial if you get so many wrong in a row, that said thought it will show you the correct way to answer it if you select shoot again instead of redo shoot.  Some of the reasons we like 4 Dice Fraction Games are:

1.  Can become a multi-player game. Through the use of Bluetooth two players can play competitively or cooperatively, which is a fun bonus for students. Also a great way to get parents involved! It is compatible with iPads, iPods and iPhones which opens up accessibility for students and families to purchase and practice at home.

2.  Review and work space. It has a nice printed review for students to pull up in the information icon that gives a helpful reminder on the rules of working with fractions. This was especially important for this Kindergarten teacher!! It also has a easy to use whiteboard feature to work through the problems during game play.

Screen Shot of 4 Dice: Fraction Games

3.  Teacher features. It seems to have an unlimited number of player profiles (I can't find the exact amount it lets you input, however I put 25 names and it seems it will let me keep adding). Helpful if you teach multiple math classes and want each student to have their own profile.  Unfortunately it doesn't sync with other devices so you have to manually input all player names onto each device.  Another great teacher feature is that you can email a student progress report to yourself that gives you an overview of each profile's performance.  The developer has created a helpful webpage that allows you to download a printable version to play with your class, as well as many other insights into the math apps that they have created and their common core standards connections.  All nice teacher features that we appreciate!

Overall I feel that 4 Dice: Fraction Games is engaging without being distracting and allows for maximum direct practice with fractions!  During our workshops we heard from many third through sixth grade teachers that they would like more apps that focus on their content areas, especially in math. Here is a great app that is definitely worth checking out!  Make sure to follow our blog so that you can hear about any apps that we love that go free right away!

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