Mystery Math Town


   Mystery Math Town

   by Artgig Apps

Some might be wondering where did Applicable2U go since the summer time.  Yes, I have been “ed app missing in action” but have made a brief return for my friends at Artgig Apps.  Over the last few months, Artgig Apps has been busy and certainly making their mark in the app world.  If you aren’t familiar with Artgig Apps, they are known for Shake-A-Phrase, Alien Buddies, Marble Math and Marble Math Jr.  Recently, Common Sense Media and CTR (Children’s Technology Review) awarded Marble Math and Marble Math Jr. for excellence in design and “must have” apps on your device.  Today the celebration continues as they launch in the App Store, Mystery Math Town.   Mystery Math Town is intended to be used with children ages 6-12 years old.  In order to visit this mysterious town, users must have an iPad device running iOS 5 or later.  It’s perfect for home and school usage as it allows for multiple accounts and customization of user skills while meeting grade level Common Core State Standards.  While on this island, players will use their mathematical knowledge of addition, subtraction and multiplication in order to unlock rooms, windows and secret passage ways. Your child(ren) will be completely engaged from the very beginning as they create their own quirky avatar.   If any of my readers have been to Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom lately, you may have noticed a new technical integration of talking paintings that guide you through the park in order to solve a mystery.  While exploring Mystery Math Town on my device this memory of Magic Kingdom came to mind as I opened doors, zipped down stairs and interacted with talking paintings or animated objects within each room while doing math.   Learn to build numerical sentences and fact families with numbers, dice, and tally marks.  With a clean and easy to navigate design, users will be developing strategies and building their critical thinking skills along the way.

Before your mystery can begin, users will not want to miss the chance to design their own avatar, swipe through a variety choices. What type of hat/hair, eyes or mouth will your child(ren) choose? Once created, no avatar is set in stone, it can be altered at anytime.  Differentiate a players experience by selecting those skills that will be incorporated during their mystery.

  • Addition: 0-10, 11-20, or 21-50
  • Subtraction: 0-10, 11-20, or 21-50
  • Multiplication: x1, x2, x5, x10 or x1-x10
  • Types of numbers to include dice and tallies

Off the shores of this island are 8 homes and your goal is to help an adorable ghost find a total of 50 firefly friends that have been trapped in jars. Homes provide users with a large library of mathematical questions.  Once through the front door, the direction you go next will depend on the numbers you store.  Users will need to keep in mind that their storage meter will only hold 8 numbers, this is where strategy comes in.  Use the numbers collected to build fluency of addition, subtraction and multiplication as you go through windows, up/down stairs or through doorways.  If along the way your child is unsure of how to solve, use a lifeline, but use them wisely, they are only given three.  Mystery Math Town is equipped with a number of bonus features or positive reinforcements, a collection of talking paintings (ie. Ms. Maps, Shirley MacStroodle and FlapJack) and a treasure chest of coins.  Applicable2U actually found themselves going around in circles at times, had I made good numerical choices?  If not, how should I solve.  With some many schools talking about Common Core State Standards, a number of standards came to mind through exploration.  For example,

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.6 Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.D.8 Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 + ? = 11, 5 = _ – 3, 6 + 6 = _.
     Yes, Mystery Math Town has been added to a large list of educational math apps.  However, this truly is unlike any other math app that I have experienced.  It is so much more than clicking the sum, difference or product.  It’s about understanding properties of math, working with equations, and building fluency.  Recently, I had a fourth grade student visit this mysterious town, at the end I asked him what he thought.  He said, “This is an AWESOME app.”  In addition, his classroom teacher was very impressed at how it meets the needs of students at grade level and those needing additional support within an inclusionary educational model.  Take the time to download Mystery Math Town TODAY by simply clicking here. You won’t regret it!

Move the Turtle

Move the Turtle

by Next is Great

Are you a computer geek that loves programming or are you a classroom teacher instructing on such skills as angles, measurement and two dimensional geometry? If you answered yes to either these, then you have come to the right educational app review. We are no stranger to educational app developers, Next is Great and we are pleased to add to our collection of reviews their latest addition, Move the Turtle. Regardless of which mathematical program your school district is using, we are quite certain that it is a program that builds understanding over a period of time. This understanding comes as informal and formal exposure while also integrating direction instruction. Move the Turtle is a mathematical app for students in their early to late elementary years. Recently it was featured in the App Store in the New and Noteworthy for Education. It is compatible for all Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later. As your child(ren) works alongside an adult or independently with a ruler, various directions and a pencil, they will soon become a coding guru.

With many school districts moving towards the Common Core State Standards and implementing mobile devices, the purchasing of educational apps is certainly under debate. When educational apps come at a cost, both educators and parents want to feel confident that their child(ren) and/or students will be gaming for a reason. A purchased app needs to not only engage the user, but it also needs to introduce, reinforce and/or challenge the target population. Technology is an essential tool that should be used strategically in any mathematics curriculum. Next is Great and Move the Turtle is certainly making this happen. Move the Turtle is based on the mathematical idea of Logo. Logo was created in 1967 by a Cambridge, Massachusetts firm. Logo gives students the opportunity to be introduced to basic programming or coding skills. Through a few simple step by step commands your “turtle cursor” will be able to draw geometric shapes and patterns, while also reinforcing angles. When looking at the standards for children as young as kindergarten they are expected to “identify and describe shapes, as well as to analyze, compare, create and compose shapes.” Over a student’s elementary years, this same curriculum expectation is expanded upon for a deeper understanding.

With the ability to create what appears to be an unlimited number of accounts, users will be able to unlock a multitude of rewards as they play and learn within three chapters: Let’s Move, A Little Bit of Magic, and Professor Turtle. Chapters are broken into tasks which teaches and builds upon various commands such as: move, turn, pen, color, repeat, sound, position and conditions. It is important to note that there are no audio directions, just verbal/pictorial pop up menus which can support the user as moves are made. As you keep this in mind, this will determine if adult supervision will be necessary. Once it is time to “move the turtle”, the users screen will be divided into two areas. The first being the chalkboard building area which is equipped with a ruler along each X and Y axis. The left side is designated for reviewing and selecting specific commands in order to complete individual tasks. In order to put your commands/steps to the test, simply click the play button underneath your chalkboard. If tasks are considered incomplete, additional opportunities to succeed will be provided. When tasks are completed, young coders will earn 1-3 stars within each level. As rewards are earned, additional levels are revealed. As you progress through levels, tasks become more complicated, but build on previous tasks for further reinforcement. As most people know, turtles are very slow moving, but in this educational app, your turtle can move in three different ways: slow, medium and super fast. Come see what happens when these options are altered.

Once commands are learned compose and save your own creations to your devices library. In addition, developers have also included a nice library of pre-made lessons. A note to the developers – is it possible to share newly made creations with other Move the Turtle followers? It would be greatly if your website had the option to upload and share projects in order to see how others are using this educational app.

Overall, we love this educational app and plan to install it on our new iPads arriving this summer. For only $2.99, it is an educational app worth purchasing. Put your thinking skills to the test and become a coding geek. If you would like to learn more Next is Great, please visit their website here. To get your turtle moving today, simply click here to download Move the Turtle to your iTunes library.

This review is also featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.

Murky Reef Educational App Series

Murky Reef Educational App Series

by Frolyc

There are a number of educational app series currently in the App Store that are just amazing.  As a parent and an educator, I want to know that those apps that are installed on my personal and educational equipment will make an impact on my children.  Education is shifting on a daily basis and many schools are moving towards a 1:1 program with tablets, particularly iPad devices.  Some schools however are questioning is it worth the money?  What will the impact be on our students as it relates to the all important state test scores.  Some teachers are wondering how technology fits into the new standards, particularly those of the Common Core State Standards coming their way.  Amazingly those from Frolyc development group are taking these questions very seriously.  Through a variety of different multimedia formats, Murky Reef educational app series guides young learners in first and second grade through a cross curricular learning adventure.

Back in February of this year we reviewed Murky Reef: Think and Play.  Our review was based on the Lite version, however, with an in-app purchase of $4.99, curriculum connections and engagement are taken to the next level of learning.  It’s critical thinking at its best as children navigate through the murky seas learning to be a scientist, mathematician and a reader.  In any of their educational app series – Math 1, Math 2, Language Arts 1, Language Arts 2 or Science, parents and educators will be astonished at the levels of learning and engagement that is going on while frolicking the depths of the ocean floor.  The Murky Reef educational series app design was built with the intent to make our children think in a variety of ways. Their educational games have students moving through hierarchical levels of learning based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. When applying these educational apps in your classroom or home, students will be building their knowledge and comprehension as they apply, analyze, synthesis and evaluate their learning.

As Applicable2U explored with their recent download of Murky Reef: Science, we had a sense of having a textbook in our hands.  Information is shared interactively through narrated reading passages, YouTube videos and manipulation of items on each screen.  Content could be presented in a variety of ways: large/small group or individually.  Presentation would be dependent on the number of devices available.  Regardless, once information is learned or reinforced, put it to the “Puffer test”. Puff, is Murky Reef’s superhero and needs your help to stop Ogee the ravenous eating shark. If your school is equipped with multiple devices, teachers could set up student accounts, allowing students one to one time to move through a quiz like format of questions to share what they have learned.  Through an individual performance report, all concerned parties (parents, educators and yes, even students) will be provided a break down of skills learned and needs of improvement.

With classrooms jam packed with content to cover and uncover in 10 months, learning should be presented in a cross curricular manner and Frolyc educational apps are making this happen. Whether you download one or all of the apps within this series, parents and educators of all learning styles will be pleased.  If you would like to learn more about Frolyc apps, please visit their website here.

Elfishki and the Giant Cake

  Elfishki and the Giant Cake


There are a number of states in the US that have been following the Common Core Standards for a number of years, while others are just coming on board.  For those new to the Common Core Standards many are questioning what it might mean for how material is presented or how it compares to previous standards.  Common Core Standards are designed “to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young audience needs in order to be successful.”  This level of success can come in any format and Kids iPhone Apps is making that possible via your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.  Recently launched in February of this year is a wonderful interactive book called Elfishki and the Giant Cake.  Whether you are an educator in a school or home setting or you are a parent trying to teach your child(ren) conscious reading skills, then this needs to be your next educational app download!

What Applicable2U loves about this development company is that their goal is to create not only captivating stories, but to apply their stories and illustrations as teaching tools.  As an educator just delving into the Common Core and how technology fits in, this review could not have come at a more appropriate time.  In order for our children to fully participate in today’s global community, we need to keep in mind the 4 C’s of 21st century skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication).  Elfishki and the Giant Cake is designed for children ages 6-9 and is supporting those 21st century skills just mentioned, exposes children to a familiar genre; fairy tales, myths and legends, and it integrates several Common Core Standards for English Language Arts along the way.

Come journey to Rainbow Island which is in the middle of Sparkling Sea and meet the adorable fairy tale creatures called Elfishkis.  Hear a wonderful story of how our main creatures or characters, Elfizz and Maggie are able to put their two worlds together and become friends, regardless of their differences.  As you enter this interactive, educational book app users will immediately notice the brilliant and crisp colors which makes the story images pop off the screen.  This original story can be experienced in English or in Russian as it is either read to you by a professional narrator or is read by the reader themselves.  Regardless of which is chosen, some young readers may even feel like they are apart of the board game Candy Land, with its magical feel, scrumptious candy and food all around.  With one or more simple taps, certain parts of each page will come to life as an animation.  Not only will objects and characters move, but each page has the reader stop and answer three questions before moving on with the story.  By implementing this feature, educators and parents will have opportunities to build a variety of academic skills such as:  comprehension check-ins, predictions, vocabulary building, discussion of story elements, points of view and to recall prior knowledge related to the information and events in the text.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to also offer new and more fluent readers the option to highlight words as it is read.

Elfishki and the Giant Cake can be implemented in a number of ways.  At times, reading for some is a challenge and not seen as fun.  When reading is differentiated for all learners, children’s academic attitudes will miraculously change.  If chosen to use in a classroom or home school environment, connect your iPad device to a large screen or projector and experience the wonderful world of the Elfishkis as a whole group.   As you navigate through your fairy tale genre unit, use Elfishki and the Giant Cake to support and reinforce what makes up a fairy tale.  Along the way stop and discuss connections, while implementing each pages guiding questions.  To enhance a readers creativity, have children create drawings or visions of what might happen next in the story or even an alternative choice that our main creatures could have taken.  In addition, Elfishki and the Giant Cake could also be used individually or in small groups.  If you walk into any classroom, children are usually in reading groups based on one’s reading level.  Some groups are larger than others and some are much smaller, this interactive book would be a wonderful addition to the school’s library.  Use Elfishki and the Giant Cake to spark communication, critical thinking and collaboration as they answer guided questions provided by the application. As the apps questions are shared, students might find that they have their own questions to share as well.

Applicable2U is pleased to have this interactive book apart of our iPad library.  There are so many books out their in hardcover, softcover and now as an app for your mobile device.  To know that while reading Elfishki and the Giant Cake your child(ren) or students will be building their love of reading, incorporating a number of academic needs and celebrating each others differences is well worth the $2.99 download.  To learn more about this and the other books that Kids iPhone Apps has to offer, please visit their website here.  Which character will you gravitate more towards, Elfizz or Maggie?  Download Elfishki and the Giant Cake to find out by simply clicking here.

eSkills Learning: Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Parts of Speech and Compound Words

Over the past several months, eSkills Learning has been hard at work to expand their collection of educational apps.  The eSkills Learning team have designed BINGO like apps that relate to core curriculum standards in the areas of: Language Arts, Reading Comprehension, Math and Algebra Video apps. Both Parts of Speech and Compound Words can be played on any Apple device running iOS 3.2 or later.  The applications may be pricey compared to other educational apps out on the market, however, the eSkills Learning team is devised of members with over 30 years of educational experiences.  Their goal is to motivate and challenge those using their applications.  The academic end results that a parent or teacher will see in their child or student after having played will be worth the download.  Through this game format, students won’t even realize that they are learning, reinforcing and reviewing for their next language arts lesson or even a state preparation exam.

What truly amazes Applicable2U about the integration of the eSkills Learning apps is how the use of a mobile device can change an educational setting while meeting a variety of standards.  In their About section of their website, they clearly indicate that the design of these two apps and all others were built with the Common Core Standards in mind.  When visiting the Common Core State Standards website, I came across a general key point under Languagethe standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.” At each grade level, this key point will be met and will be developed upon over time. Through the use of various levels of difficulty and multiple ways of playing (single and multi-player and practice mode), each return BINGO experience can be different, without a sense of feeling that there is no reason to return. With a brief set of directions on each question, users will read a sentence and fill in the blank with one of three choices as they practice parts of speech and compounds words.  Both applications will challenge the user as they game for a reason. Below are some highlights of each application:

Parts of Speech 

  • Levels of Play – Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Pronouns, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections
  • A collection of real world images that students can make connections too
  • Improve their visual discrimination skills as they locate pieces on a board
  • It is important to note that there will need to be pre-teaching/direct instruction done prior to using this application on definitions of the various parts of speech that the app will focus in on
  • Games are not timed during the single and practice mode to alleviate undue stress on the user(s)
  • Integration of multiple devices as they safely connect with one another via the devices Bluetooth
  • Practice mode gives the user control over how many questions they will need to answer.  There is no BINGO board in this mode of play.
  • Parts of Speech Lite version has 200 questions
  • Parts of Speech Full Classroom Version has 400 questions
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Compound Words

  • Levels of Play – Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Easy Vocabulary, Locating the 2nd Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary, Locating the 1st Half of the Compound Word – Harder Vocabulary
  • Through game play, users will be increasing their word recognition skills, the ability to look at words in many parts and the development of vocabulary as they listen, speak and write.
  • Compound Words Lite version has 100 compound word questions in total
  • Compound Words Full Classroom version has 400 compound word questions in total
  • Developer support is provided for parents and teacher in a Teacher’s Guide

Overall, Applicable2U continues to be pleased with the educational apps that eSkills Learning has to offer.  Depending on your child or students level of need in learning or reinforcing either of these two topics will determine the academic approach that will be taken.  For some it may be challenging, so working alongside a higher level partner might be useful so as to differentiate when needed.  A note to the developers, in a future update, might it be possible to include an option for the device to read sentences when necessary.  Although direct instruction will be provided, could users tap on an unknown part of speech, causing a help window to pop up for further support. Finally, within the practice mode, has your team thought about generating a short report which shows how that student did during that session.

If you would like to learn more about eSkills Learning, please visit their website here.  As mentioned in the brief overview of each application, there are two available versions.  When making this decision, do not look at the dollar value, look at how it will support and guide your child academically.  To begin adding Parts of Speech Full Class version to your iTunes library, simply click here.  To add Compound Words Full Classroom version to your iTunes library, simply click here.