(D) Slow the speed of the game

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a student who does not know her math facts is counting on her fingers.Why you shouldn’t change the game speed for most students.

You can change how fast the student has to answer, but you probably should not.  The main goal of Rocket Math is for students to commit facts to memory, to be able to answer them instantly, from recall.

Recall is instantaneous, but “figuring out” is not.

The fast pace means they don’t have time to “figure out” a fact–they just have to remember it.  If they don’t remember, then the game gives them a LOT of practice on a very small number of facts, until they do remember them. That is exactly the point of the game.  We want them to stop having to “figure out” facts and just remember the answer.

If the students are not used to “recalling” facts they will think that the game is just “too fast” for them.  But, if they keep playing and learning, more and more facts will be committed to memory and can be answered instantaneously.  Almost everyone can do it–if you insist on it.

The danger in slowing the game down for most students.  If you let students play at the slower speeds they may never use “recall” and instead may figure out the facts over and over.  Until I realized the difference, I allowed my students to take their time to figure out facts.  Many of my students never committed facts to memory all year long!  If, as we do in Rocket Math, you only ask them to remember two facts and their reverses at a time, everyone can remember two facts.  It takes just a few minutes to realize that they can, in fact, remember that answer instantaneously.  Once they use recall, they remember the answer in less than a second, and then three seconds to input it, is quite doable.  If you slow down the game speed, they may NEVER realize they can remember the fact, instead of figuring it out each time.

Many students may complain, but they only need an adjustment if their difficulty score is over 3.0 

Students are not used to memorizing, which invariably involves repeating things over and over.  All students should expect to “Start Over” often, but some are upset by even starting over once.  Some are shocked the first time they cannot answer a problem in the 3 seconds allotted.  They don’t realize that persisting in playing will help them learn the fact fast enough to answer in 3 seconds.    Their difficulty score, from the Review Progress screen tells you whether or not the game is too fast for them.

You can sort your class based on their difficulty scores–as the teacher did in this picture.  A difficulty score under 3.0 means the student has to start over on average fewer than 3 times for each part passed.  That is not too difficult.  Some students have difficulty scores under 1.0 and Rocket Math is very easy for them.  Only students with difficulty scores over 3.0 should you consider to have their speed changed–and then only if you know they require accommodations.  On the other hand, students with difficulty scores under 0.1 should be challenged to take on the Faster speed!

First, select the students to whom the orange ‘Bulk Actions’ button will apply

When you want to change something for a group of students, you will use to the orange button on the right side above the names that say “Bulk Actions.”  You will first have to select the students to whom the bulk action should apply.

First select the students you want to affect. 

To select the students put a check mark in the little box at the left hand side of their row.  If that will be tedious, you can check the Select All box, a check mark will go onto all the students showing on your screen. But be sure they are all showing before you choose this.

How many at a time do you want to see or export?  Above the word Select you can choose how many of your students you want to show at a time on your screen.  The Show entries options are: 10, 25, 50, 100 or All.

Or use the search bar to select who you want to see in your display.  You can use the search bar to limit who shows up–for example entering a teacher’s name will display only her students.  Then you can use “Select All” to put a check mark only in front of that teacher’s students.

Remember: on the Bulk Actions button somebody has to be selected (have checkmarks in front of their name) or nothing happens!

Changing the Game Speed on the Bulk Actions Button

Once you have selected the students for whom you want to change their speed, go to the orange Bulk Actions”  button.  Pull down for a short menu, outlined in orange in this picture. The last option is “Change game speed.”

Here’s what the game speed change dialog box looks like.



The options for speed are:

  • Normal, at 3 seconds to answer (double that for two digit answers)
  • Slow, at 4.5 seconds to answer per digit
  • Slowest, at 6 seconds to answer per digit
  • Fast, at 2.25 seconds to answer per digit


Previous (C) Change session length (5, 10, 15 min)
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