As you know, learning math can be hard – both on kids and parents. And fractions, especially, can be a real nightmare at school. To encourage students, learning specialists at university and video game experts have developed a fun teaching application. Slice Fractions, which is available on tablets, is not a veiled educational application: it is a truly fun video game that helps kids discover and understand the concept of fractions. No exercises, no reading, no formulas to learn by heart. Kids just follow along – and have fun!
Jean-Guillaume Dumont, François Boucher-Genesse and Dany Joly launched their company, Ululab, in pursuit of a specific mission: to create games to help children to learn. With backgrounds, respectively, in education, video games, and information technology, the three founders developed “Slice Fractions”, a mobile application that enables kids to learn fractions in a new way.
“Choosing fractions came quite naturally, because mathematics is a universal language,” says designer Jean-Guillaume Dumont. “This learning process focuses on fractions, and yet it’s a subject that causes some the greatest problems for learners. So we thought we’d tackle the problem of fractions by creating a fun mobile game that calls on children’s intuition.”
In a colourful prehistoric world, kids must free a woolly mammoth stuck in blocks of ice. To do so, they have to correctly divide the lava blocks. On each panel, kids receive a fun hat for their woolly mammoth as well as badges – this is an effective reward system inspired by video games.
“We wanted to create a true video game that children would want to play. Something that doesn’t feel like homework to them; something that is fun to do. We used the concepts of ice and lava because they allow to talk about portions and things that cancel each other out, which is perfect for fractions. Since this is a video game, we needed an attractive character whose adventures kids would enjoy following. So we came up with this silly woolly mammoth with its funny hats,” says François Boucher-Genesse, game designer for “Slice Fractions.”
The game, which was initially designed for children aged 7 to 12 years, when they are taught fractions at school, has led to pleasant surprises for its creators.
“When my son Victor tries unsuccessfully to solve a panel, he tells me what he’s doing, and I give him hints. Without realizing it, he talks to me about fractions and has fun doing it. He loves overcoming challenges and doesn’t stop until he completes the panel he’s working on and earns a new hat,” says Martine, mother of a 7-year-old.
Without having to read or even use numbers in the first few panels, kids learn about fractions intuitively by cutting shapes.
“Slice Fractions” is a perfect complement for school curricula and enables young minds to discover the concept of fractions and facilitate the learning of mathematics.