If you are a teacher or parent who wants to teach the basics of how to solve equations on paper with DragonBox+, here is a brief description of the best way to do it, from our experience:

1. Let your little learner(s) play the full game: that means solving all 200 equations at their own pace. It can require different sessions of 20-30 minutes. Make sure that they understand the objective of the game: to isolate the box on one side. Never try to explain to the player that she is dividing or adding numbers, or use any other “mathy” words. Otherwise, you might spoil the game!

You can gently help them if necessary but it is best to let them play through the game by themselves, as much as possible. Don’t help them solve difficult levels directly, but remind them of the rules if needed. We intentionally made some levels difficult to encourage players to flex their creativity muscles. Here are some rules and tricks from the game: DragonBox rules

2. When you are sure your children are comfortable with the way to solve equations in the game, you can make the transfer on paper. Two things are missing from the game which children need to practice on paper:

• Since both sides of the equations in the game are updated semi-automatically, you need to explain specifically that the child must add or subtract to both sides of the equation themselves. Similarly, they must mulitply or divide all groups in the same “move.”
• In the game, the equations are on one line and are updated as moves are made. So, you must explain specifically to children that they need to copy the line down each time, as they make a “move.” To help you make the transition, we suggest using the following Transfer document where children have to fill in the missing parts.

3. When children are comfortable with the transfer document, you are ready to teach them how to solve usual equations on paper. Let children choose the name of the variable: the first letter in their forename or any other letter or symbol they like. As much as possible, avoid using the usual “x”.

4. Test your children from time to time with simple equations. And try to introduce them to real world problems where you need to solve simple equations to find a solution.

Warning: Mathematics is a game. Don’t spoil it!