It isn't easy to turn math into a game, but somehow Carrotsticks pulls it off in very good form with a cumulative score based on correct answers, prizes at each stage of scoring, and a terrific multiplayer online community where children can actually compete with each other to see who can solve the most math problems faster.
Create a CarrotSticks Character
The very first thing a child must do when they visit Carrotsticks is to create a character. This is a very simple process of just scrolling to the right or left to choose an article of clothing or type of hairstyle, and then clicking on the color palette to select color options.
Character options are very cute, which makes sense in an online game that goes by the name "Carrotsticks." However, there are other character options for kids who want their cartoon avatar to look cool, serious or just plain silly.
Solving Math Problems
At first, the concept of this game seems overly simple. All you have to do is solve the math problem above your character's head. However, the simplicity of the game is deceiving. As you advance up to the higher levels, you'll notice that the math problems change significantly.
The interface with this online game is impressive. The cursor intuitively goes where you need it to go next, so that all you have to focus on is typing the correct number into the keyboard. This makes it much easier to solve complicated math problems very quickly.
Another feature that really takes this online game to the next level is the fact that you can click on any of the online players and challenge them to a head-to-head math competition.
When you're in the middle of a head-to-head match with another player, you'll find that it's very exciting as each of you race with the clock and with each other to answer more math problems correctly before the clock runs out!
Racing Up the Charts
When you first start the game, you don't even have to sign up for an account. You can immediately start answering questions and accumulating points. At this stage, you can play all four game types - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Signing Up For An Account
Account sign-up takes only seconds. The child will need to know their parent's email address so that the parent can confirm that the child has permission to play the game.
Playing With a Free Account
Unfortunately, when you sign up for a free account, you can only play the addition games. While this is somewhat limiting, it is still very fun to play. However, if a parent really wants to get the most educational value out of the game, signing up for a paid account wouldn't be a bad idea.
As you gradually collect points and advance through the levels, the math problems change shape and become a little more difficult. You will go from adding single digit numbers in a line, to double digit numbers in the standard top to bottom format.
Get a High Score!
Watching the score advance through the ranks is a major motivator for kids. As the math problems get more difficult, the child is able to accumulate more points and race up the charts faster - but racing means doing more math problems correctly in less time. In effect, they are learning how to do math more effectively.
Best of all, at certain major milestones, Carrotsticks will award the child a certificate of achievement, which gets mailed to the parent's email address. The parent can print out the certificate and hand write the child's name in the fields.
The sense of pride and accomplishment is what really motivates kids to continue practicing. Without even realizing it, while they are having so much fun, they are gaining critical math skills as well.
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