Teaching math in a stealth mode using a game.

My family likes this burger’s restaurant which gives children special attention. When they were smaller they would get a large drawing and some crayons to fill in.

When they were done and bored waiting for the food, I flipped the page over and drew some riddles.

One that they really liked was the basis of my next game – coinscale.

It teaches linear algebra to preschoolers and they don’t mind learning! That’s because they don’t know they are learning linear algebra. Many adults turn away and start running when they hear they need to learn such a subject but kids, presented with the material without the title or any other barrier just play and enjoy themselves.

It started with simple drawings of scales with some coins and some bags of coins.

The bags are made of very thin and lightweight material but are opaque. You need to keep the balance and remove coins from both sides of the scale and reach a state where you have one bag on one cup and coins on the other. This is how you find out how many coins are there in the bag.

It gets more interesting when I added new shapes – a gold bar equal in weight to 10 coins and one diamond equal to 10 gold bars and so on.

I introduced negative numbers with helium balloons shaped like the corresponding weights.

The game is not realistic, since in life, a gold bar weights much more than 10 gold coins and a diamond is not that dense. Also the helium balloons need to be huge for their buoyancy to equal the gravity pool of the gold coins but apparently kids don’t mind. Either they become stupider in physics as they grow some IQ points in math or they understand the limitations of the analogy and flex their abstraction muscle. I don’t really care.

!st edition will be 2D similar to the original drawings, based on Box2dWeb and a graphics library.some examples with thanks to google translate as my Chinese is rather weak.