Game Based Improvement of Learning Fractions Using iOS Mobile Devices

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Virginia Tech

Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of any nation. Researchers, pedagogists, and teachers all over the world are constantly working towards improving the process of teaching at all levels of education in order to help impart knowledge in a more effective way. One of the most fundamental branches of education is mathematics. Unless a strong foundation is laid in childhood, it becomes difficult for adults to apply mathematics to their daily lives. Mathematics is such a field that it is integrated in most of our activities. Fractions, a mathematics topic, pose significant challenges for middle school students Although the students generally understand proper fractions (i.e., the numerator is smaller than the denominator), they find it very difficult to learn improper fractions (i.e., the numerator is greater than the denominator). One cannot do away with parts of mathematics curriculum, just because the concept is hard to grasp.

The solution is to come up with alternative methods to teach these concepts, such that they are easier to understand and more fun to learn. This thesis describes a digital game-based solution for teaching fractions to middle school students using iOS mobile devices, i.e., iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. We developed a universal iOS game, called Candy Factory, which runs on all iOS mobile devices. The game assigns the student the role of the owner of a Candy Factory and tasks the student to manufacture a candy bar to match the kind and size of a customer order from a whole candy bar that is retrieved from the warehouse. The game is created to teach fractions based on the concept of partitioning and iterating. The student performs various activities such as partitioning, iterating, and measuring to produce the candy bar to satisfy the customer requirements. The game consists of three levels, which help the student progress smoothly from easier problems to more difficult ones. The Candy Factory game, not only helps students learn the fundamentals of fractions, but also makes the learning process enjoyable.

iOS mobile devices, iOS mobile software engineering, game-based learning, digital games, fractions