Factor finder is an interactive game that helps students differentiate between factors and non-factors of compound numbers. Additionally, students will learn basic computer programming as they modify a game to find factors and non-factors of other composite numbers.
Grade Level, Subject, and Task Complexity:
This game is intended for students in fifth and sixth grade mathematics. Before playing factor finder, students will need to develop proficiency in multiplication and division facts up to 12 and divisibility rules. They can be developing in factoring but should already be familiar with the factor tree method as this will help them to approach factors of numbers that are larger than 12. During the span of these lessons, students will first use and then modify a game.
Student Characteristics/Development Levels
For students who are earlier in their development of multiplication/division fluency, I use square tiles as a physical manipulative. If the tiles can be divided into equal groups, the factors are the number of groups times the number in each group. If students learn this method, they can use grid paper to perform a similar check. Students may need to factor the numbers in the game first using one of these methods. The game will then reinforce their answer. More proficient students will just be able to play the game.
Link to the Game:
Evaluating Student Performance for this Task:
This game awards 5 points for the selection of factors and deducts 5 points for the selection of non-factors. Because factors and non-factors are randomly assigned, there will be variation in student scores. In general, students with higher scores have demonstrated greater proficiency on the task. Students with lower scores may need more practice with the game. You may turn the "enemy" breed on and off to increase the engagement potential of the game by making it more difficult (enemy on) or to make it easier (enemy off). Following whatever you determine to be sufficient practice by your student, you may wish to turn the enemy breed off again to reassess.
First Follow-Up Activity (Design-Up to 90 minutes, Playing other students' games 45 minutes):
Start a compound numbers and a < 2 factors list. Students will remix the "Factor Finder" game. They will need to choose a multiple (a number resulting from the multiplication of two or more prime factors) that has at least 2 factors. They will program the game by changing the original clue to "factors of X," record a greeting to tell students which factor they are searching for, creating at least two voice bubbles with factors of X, creating at least 2 non-factor voice bubbles, and deleting unused voice bubbles. The compound numbers selected by students will be placed on the class compound numbers list to avoid duplication of tasks by students. If students are unable to find 2 factors of a number (not including 1 and X), These factors will be placed on a < 2 factors list. If the numbers in actuality have > or = 2 factors, challenge other students to factor these numbers. Students completing the game modification activity first may make other changes to their games program as an additional remix. Students should then play each other's games. All factors of each compound number may be placed next to that number on the "compound numbers" list.
Links to Additional Assessments and Practice with Factoring