Introduction

Welcome to Polyup. Follow the video on the left to help you through the Poly Machine on the right.

Here’s a summary of the video:

Polyup is designed into a series of activities called “Poly Machines.” These machines usually take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete and are geared for students from 3rd through 12th grade.

Each machine has a series of levels that we call “chips”. Students must go through and solve each successive chip to complete the machine.

Each chip has an initial set of blocks in the chip, and a target output. Students must “mod”, or modify, the mathematical expression, equation, or algorithm given to create the target output. In the Meet Poly machine, we are initially given the blocks 10, 4, and +, and we want to modify this expression to create 6 instead of 14. We replace the 10 with a 2 by dragging and dropping blocks, and when we run again by tapping Poly, Poly sees 2 4 +, which creates 6.

One important note is that Polyup uses a different order of operations than normal math. In Polyup, the operation comes below the numbers that are being operated on (operands) instead of between them. For example, in Polyup, the blocks would read (from top-down) 2 4 +, whereas in normal math they would be 2 + 4.

Many students and teachers struggle with this change of paradigm at first, but there are a few reasons Polyup does it this way.

  • Explicit Order of Operations: The order of operations is literally the order in which the blocks appear. No need for parentheses, or implicit PEMDAS order.
  • Functional Notation: In Polyup, everything is represented as a function, so that the + operation is really f(a,b) = a+b. By portraying all operations as things that take in inputs and spit out outputs, we bridge the gap between arithmetic, algebra, and computer science to set up students for success.
  • Fun!: We want students to be sucked out of the mindset that Polyup is just another worksheet. By changing up the order of operations, Polyup makes students think in new ways, and gives them a sense of exploration and learning that will keep them motivated.

Polyup is drag and drop, so you need to click and drag blocks to move them around. If there is a palette available, such as the basic operations palette (pictured below), you need to click on the palette and then drag away the block you want from it.

Basic operations pallette