Okay, I am SO not a gamer. I found out about the game Refraction via a blog post from Dan Meyer. He included a link to the game Refraction.

The game is on Kongrigate and has been enjoyed by students and adults. The game has no instructions, so I Googled “how to play Refraction” and went to several places before I found this introductory video, which has not yet helped me much.

I also found a Walkthrough video, but there is no sound.

The game is part of a research project by the University of Washington.

I’ll keep plugging away. The learning curve is steep for this technology immigrant!

The previous post was written on June 4 and was never published because I never got back to trying to figure it out. I’m teaching a Grade 3 – 5 CCSSM course and have found an ally in Phillip Peterson, who I have typecast (with good evidence) as a tech nerd. I’ll admit to being a math nerd and proud of it…so I hope that my typecasting is not offending Phillip. I wish I were more of a tech nerd, but as I said in the beginning of this post, I have a very steep learning curve.

As Phillip and I looked at the game together, even he was having a problem. Then we found out we were on Level 7.9 rather than level 1.1. We found out how to get back to the beginning level. Once I watched him do a few, even I caught on fairly quickly.

The idea is to get energy to spaceships (I think that’s what they are). The key is getting just the right amount of power. For example, a spaceship may only need 1/2 power, but the power stream is at the full power of 1. There are tools that split the stream into halves, thirds, etc. There are also tools that simply redirect the stream…going around asteroids and other obstacles. There are other tools that we noticed in the higher levels that add fractions, however in order to add the fractions, they must have the same denominator, so there are tools that spit out equivalent fractions. If all this sounds a bit odd, just try it from the beginning. Even I was able to figure it out pretty quickly once I had Phillip sitting next to me cheering me on and giving me high fives.

Phillip, who is a tech education teacher for Grades 5 – 8 (and a former civil engineer) felt that it was not something that he would build a lesson around, except to introduce it. The game would serve as something that students could play when they had completed another assignment.

So far, I’ve seen that it supports the ideas of splitting in 2, 3, etc, which has the effect of multiplying by a unit fraction of 1/2 or 1/3. A series of splitters can give you other denominators. For example if 1 goes through a two way splitter, then a three way splitter, the result it a stream with 1/6 power. I’ve also seen the idea of adding fractions with the need for common denominators. The adding tool will not accept unlike denominators, but, as mentioned earlier, there is a tool provided that will create an equivalent fraction.

What I haven’t figured out yet, but I imagine is available, is different values of 1 with which you can multiply or divide to create the equivalent fraction you need. I also haven’t figure out yet if there will be a need to multiply by a fraction, such as multiplying 1/4 by 3/5 to get 3/20.

So, I am addicted enough to at least figure out the answers to my unknown questions.

I want to thank Phillip for getting me off square 1!