Today's version has been a while coming. There was a good deal of debugging to do once I set this little quiz up. There's a long way to go still, but I think now everyone has some idea where I'm going with this. At this point, the main directions for this project are:

1. Questions that aren't quite so straightforward. For example:

A group orders 2 pizzas and has some leftover from each. 1/6 of one of the pizzas is left, and 4/9 of the other pizza is left. Show how much of a whole pizza they have when they put the leftovers together to take home, as a single fraction.

In this case, the final fraction is unknown; the player will have to type in the numerator and denominator once all the pizza is served.

I'm also going to have to make changes to accommodate questions like:

3 people order 1_2/3 pizzas. Show how to divide this amount into equal servings for the three people, and show a single fraction that represents each serving.

3/8 of a pizza is leftover. From this, someone eats an amount equal to 1/5 of a whole. Show the amount that remains, as a single fraction.

3/8 of a pizza is leftover. Someone eats 1/5 of what is left. Show the amount that remains, as a single fraction.

2.  An aspect of the game that actually teaches, rather than merely presenting. As I show this to other teachers and we discuss it, it becomes obvious to me that this is more of a presentation tool than a teaching tool. In play mode, you can easily show how fractions are added, and I think it makes an effective visual for that, on a smartboard or elsewhere. But in quiz mode, there's nothing that gives you a clue as to whether you're on the right track or not; you'll only pass the quiz if you already know everything you need to know, or if you have a whole lot of luck. I have plenty of ideas for improving this, but it will have to wait a bit.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest version, and as always, feel free to give me any suggestions. The end goal is to have a free fraction teaching tool that really works.

A little time to work on this today! Today's update has several playability improvements, as well as a new feature: the divisor text box (visible when the roller tool is picked up) now has friendly buttons for increasing or decreasing the divisor.

Extant problem: the "server" tool (lousy name, but I'm not sure what else to call it) isn't so good at lifting up a small slice. If you cut the pizza into, say 128ths, you will have some difficulty in picking them up and putting them down. I guess that's to be expected, but it doesn't need to be quite so difficult as it is now. The method that lifts the slice ("liftSlice") is started by an event listener that is assigned to the pizza and to the lines of division that sit on top of the pizza, so I'm not sure why it would be that I can't pick up a 1/128 slice- ANY 1/128 slice- unless I click on the thing repeatedly. Why doesn't it work right away? Not sure yet. The only work-around I have in mind for this so far would require that I add an event listener for liftSlice to the stage itself, but only when the tool is over the pizza. That would mess with a lot of the program as it's already written, however, so I'm trying to think of a cheaper solution.

Other than that, I'm satisfied enough with it that I'll move ahead with bringing in the quiz element (the next time I get a chance to work on it).
Here we go, domain and everything.
Still apparently at least one bug in the system: if I play around with the same pizza for long enough, I can create a situation in which it's drawing secant lines across the pizza (not through the center). This has something to do with the blowtorch, a tool I added just this past week. It may also have something to do with the way the program keeps track of groups of slices.

Short term:
-Sound effects.
-Improved playability (some things are difficult to click).
Longer term:
-Animation of fractions as they change (actually show fractions joining together, reducing, etc.)
-This is the biggest thing: A quiz that will challenge the user to solve fraction problems using the manipulative, and will make this a kind of puzzle game.


    My name is Alex Teich. I teach math, and I also like to make things, like this fraction manipulative. I'm going to chart my progress with it on this blog. Any advice or feedback is welcome- from programmers, mathematicians, educators, or anyone with an opinion.


    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012