With ST Math the students need to solve the problems so that JiJi-the ST Math penguin mascot-can walk from one side of the screen to the other side. If the student solves the problem correctly JiJi will make it safely to the other side and another problem will come up. If the student gets it wrong something will block JiJi's path so that he will not be able to go to the other side. The student will not only lose a life but will have to attempt the same problem again. Sometimes JiJi is blocked by an empty space, sometimes a line and sometimes a tiny dot depending on the problem the student is working on. (This last bit of information is vital in truly appreciating my student's rant.)
This morning I had some of my students working on ST Math. One of my students had his head resting on his hand and was heavily sighing. As I made my way over I asked him what was wrong. He said, "This doesn't make any sense! It isn't logical!" At this point I am watching him solve a multi-step problem. I not only can see that he is clearly understanding how to solve the problem but that it is also his first attempt at this level, meaning he hadn't lost any lives and he had not attempted this level before. He had also completed 50% of the problems on this level so I was confused as to why he was so frustrated. Before I could say anything he says, "Watch this." I watched as he quickly finishes the problem and was witness to JiJi's successful migration to the other side of the screen. It was at this point that the rant started. "How come JiJi can't even step OVER the dot, but he can climb UP a ladder? I can't even climb a ladder that fast! And why does JiJi make us do ALL the work?" Why indeed.