A Virtual Mathematical Playground
Guest Post by Shaya Zarkesh
Polyup is a computational thinking playground. Students from elementary through high school can play with puzzles involving numbers and functions. In a drag-and-drop, expression-building environment, students will create expressions that evaluate to a target value or values. Polyup has recently integrated with Google Classroom. Teachers can more easily assign Polyup’s games, called Poly Machines, to their classes, and track progress as they complete these exercises.
To play and link your account with Google Classroom, you’ll first have to create an account. Start by going to m.polyup.com and signing up as a teacher. Then your students will need to sign up separately, but if they are under 13, Polyup simply requires a username and password to sign up, so you can instruct your students to create their username in such a way to maintain compliance with privacy laws.
Connect to Classroom
After you and your students have created accounts, you can click on the menu on the top left corner to see your machine history. If you click on the green Google Classroom icon at the top, Polyup will allow you to connect your account to a Google account. Sign in with the appropriate Google account, and click the OK button on the necessary authorizations. That’s it. You’re now connected to Google Classroom!
Once you’re connected to Google Classroom, you can click the QR code icon next to the name of any machine (when in the machine) to open the share menu. Here, you can select the classes you want your machine to be shared with. When you click “Assign to Selected Class(es)”, a special assignment link to the machine will be sent to your Google Classroom class streams!
Students will then be able to click on the link to play with the machine. Once they are finished, a popup will appear asking if they want to mark the machine complete on Google Classroom. After they select “Yes”, you will be able to see that they have completed the machine at hand.
Polyup has a vast array of problems (called machines) for students to solve. The students are given an expected output – seen in the pictures in the white box with the light bulb. There are a few numbers (purple circles) and operations (green squares) already in the line up. These may or may not be the correct items. The orange square with the face on it is the “Go” button that puts the expression into motion. Additional numbers and operations that can be added to the line are found below the orange square. Polyup encourages creative thinking by providing more than is necessary so students have to analyze the problem to decide what is needed. Some machines contain numbers and/or operations that cannot be removed (marked by a dark outline as noted in the pictures below) which further enhances the critical thinking skills of the students as they solve the problems.