Math Plus Minus – Early Numbers & Arithmetic
Come “squirrel” away your food for the winter as your child practices their addition and subtraction skills with Math Plus Minus, an educational app for your Apple device running iOS 4.0 or later. This most recent educational app, Math Plus Minus, is from the developers, pkclSoft, who launched Tap Times Tables for a slightly older group of children or students looking to practice their multiplication skills. They are back at it again, but this time focusing on a younger generation of children just learning early numbers and arithmetic skills. How many acorns will you be able to store away for the winter before it’s too late? With a variety of game changing challenges, children of many age levels, pre-school to late elementary, will find that Math Plus Minus is applicable to them.
Upon entering this educational app, players will have a sense of being out in the cold. Let your body chill as you listen to original music by Kevin Macleod. But don’t get too relaxed, it’s snowing out and the squirrels needs your help. Take complete control of your mathematical experience as you tap away to set “game play” options. From the main menu screen “pop” the cogwheel icon in the bottom right hand corner. Here parents and children can decide two things: What is the biggest number to be added or subtracted and How many questions will need to be answered. With each return visit these settings can be changed, making the mathematical experience different each time. Simply drag and drop the spinning star from left to right and place it over the number/question. Numbers and questions will range from 10-100. While in this “options” screen, at the bottom of the window, users can also set the music, sound or game timer to be either on/off. One last feature available for those older mathematicians is the option to solve arithmetic sentences that incorporate negative numbers. The objective is to collect as many acorns as possible, will that happen with addition, subtraction or a combination of both type of problems. Your mathematical squirrel friend is all bundled up and ready for you “pop” the correct sum or difference.
Successful answers will increase the squirrels acorn pile for the winter. Game play can happen in two ways: practice/learn or challenge mode. Regardless of which mode of play that is chosen, problems are written horizontally. A note to the developers – For some learners, math sentences written horizontally may be challenging. Might it be possible to add a horizontal/vertical check off box when selecting a users gaming options? Very positively, this application does incorporate borrowing and carrying over from one place value to the next and it seems academically appropriate that students see numeric sentences written in both formats. When playing to learn or practice, numeric sentences will appear as a question along the snowy floor. Four multiple choice number bubbles will be provided, an answer can not be tapped until all bubbles are exposed. Once exposed, simply tap your answer and visually and verbally, mathematicians will be reinforced. If correct, a green check mark will appear and the squirrel will shout for joy. An additional note to the developers – might it be possible when a correct answer has been chosen that the green check mark appear over the correct answer rather than the middle of the screen. Another idea might be that the correct answer appears as a completed number sentence along the snowy floor for further academic reinforcement. If incorrect, a red “x” will appear, the squirrel however, will provide the player with some words of encouragement and two additional turns. If after the third turn, a correct answer is not given, then a new problem will be provided.
As a player becomes more familiar with their number facts, then it is time to set the challenge even higher. From the main menu, locate the floating “challenge” bubble. Those options that you initially set continue in this mode, however, this time the mathematical question is missing a piece of the number sentence. The user is expected to scan the various number choices and complete the number sentence. The quicker you respond, the more points you will earn. Numbered bubbles will slowly disappear with each correct challenge question. The challenge is over once all the bubbles have disappeared and the squirrel has what he came for, more acorns!!
It is important to note that scores are maintained and recorded through your devices Game Center app. However, prior to playing, players can choose whether or not to add this educational app to their Game Center. Whether the mobile device is being used in an educational setting or for an entire family, this account should not provide any personal information when designating your user ID name. When tapping or popping the Game Center button, players will have access to a visual leader board of top points earned while playing Math Plus Minus as it compares your score across three periods of time: Today, This Week and All Time best scores. As a parent, knowing the academic successes or unsuccessful times that my child has spent gaming for a reason with this application is useful, however, I wonder if this should have a lock/unlock mode for younger children. Personally, as a parent and a teacher, I want my child or student(s) to be proud of their accomplishments, however, it is even more important as I play these two roles, that I know where the areas of difficulty occurred.
Overall, Applicable2U enjoyed gaming and learning with Math Plus Minus. Through the use of repetition and various challenges, early numbers and arithmetic can be mastered. If you would like to learn more about pkclSoft and the educational apps that they have to offer, please visit their website here. To start your collection of acorns, download Math Plus Minus from your iTunes library for $1.99 here.