Games & Simulations



Expresso is a puzzle game about the manipulation of expressions. The player is presented with a limited set of elements and machines. Each element represents an expression and may contain any combination of positive or negative whole numbers and variables. The machines provided to the player represent the arithmetic operators. Each machine may require one or two elements to be placed on the machine’s platforms before it can be operated. Players use the machines to manipulate the elements into the goal state and in a specific format. The goal state is represented as a mathematical expression, and the format of the goal state is restricted by the number of answer balls the player is required to fill.

Early levels of the game require the player to manipulate a small number of elements with only one or two machines to create simple expressions. As the game progresses, new mathematical concepts and techniques are introduced and practiced. In later levels, the goal states become more complex and require creative manipulations of the elements. This challenging problem-solving environment requires the player to explore the meaning of each operator and the rules governing the order of operations.

Teacher Notebook

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C080015 to the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).