Thursday, May 30, 2013

Factoring

As I was working on deciding exactly what my students should know in each class I teach, I realized that factoring is extremely important in more than algebraic fractions.  I discovered a nice game on prime numbers and prime factorization that also shows factoring in a way students can see how prime numbers are used as factors.  It is Prime Smash by Panasonic  and Risupia.  This game has three levels where balls bounce up one at at time and you decide if they are prime numbers or composite.  If they are prime you tap and if they are composite you swipe the number to split it up, tap a prime or swipe a composite and you break it down till it has been totally factored. Sometimes the program splits a number into a prime and a composite or two composite numbers.  You have to think quickly when you play this game.
It has a nice fun facts sections that defines prime numbers, defines twin primes, shows emirps and Palindrmic primes, and talks a bit about how to distinguish prime numbers and how they are used for incription.  This is a free app and a really nice one.
I am having fun on the easy level learning to play the game.  I've tried the medium level but its a bit fast for me quite yet.  This game is actually lots of fun once you get the hang of using it and I can see having students play this game on a regular bases.