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!

Marble Math and Marble Math Jr.


  Marble Math and Marble Math Jr.

by Artgigs

On a daily basis I am amazed at how many things from my childhood are coming back into style. From the clothing and hair styles that my students wear to the games that they are playing with. Games come in all formats and the most popular are those found on your mobile device. If you are familiar with Applicable2U, then you know my students and child game for a reason. Educational apps need to meet curriculum needs as it applies to those grade level standards and of course their exposure needs to also keep my audience engaged while having fun! Today’s review brings back marbles, mazes which move, a hint of pinball and math all in one. Artgig Apps are no stranger to the app world with such app titles as Being Benny, Shake A Phrase, Alien Buddies and now two math applications, Marble Math and Marble Math Jr. Each with a similar design but targets two age level populations. Marble Math focuses on core math concepts for those ages 9-12. While Marble Math Jr. focuses on those core math skills for ages 5-8. Both are designed for your iPad and iPhone device running iOS 4.0 or later. Navigate yourself through leveled mazes as you collect mathematical answers and hidden treasures but be sure to stay away from a few unwanted hiccups.

Both versions of Marble Math are equipped with a clean, easy to navigate design. Very quickly you can individualize your child’s experience from the main menu by selecting the cogwheel and wrench icons. Developers have included two ways to “play”. Depending on your child’s learning needs, they can roll a colorful marble with the touch of their finger or the motion of their iPad. Turn stumbling blocks like a boxing glove, banana peel or blob of goo on or off. Each application is pre-installed with a large collection of marbles, however, only one is unlocked. Unlock additional marbles by simply collecting correct answers and finding the end to each maze board. Experience math in a playful way over the course of three levels; easy, medium or hard. Not sure which level your child or student may fall into? Not to worry! Get an educational map of concepts by clicking on the wrench icon from the main menu. Customize your child’s learning experience by selecting those areas in need of reinforcement or mastery. Each educational app is equipped with academically appropriate skills.

Marble Math Jr.













Marble Math

At the completion of games, your child’s scores are recorded for each level in a table format. As levels or skills are repeated, see how your child’s score increases over time. A note to the developers – in a future update, might it be possible to provide parents and/or educators a more detailed report. This would inform future instruction and reinforcement. In addition, have you thought to provide multiple user accounts for those homes which have only one device but multiple children or schools with a limited number of devices in a classroom environment. Regardless of which version of Marble Math you download, marble manipulation and screen view is similar. At the top of the screen users will find the question. Most of the screen is devoted to the maze. As answers are collected, they will be dropped to the blank strip at the bottom, acting like a “show work” area. In addition, users will be able to keep an eye on the number of lives they have left, 3 is the norm, but additional lives can be collected. A note to the developers – when exploring in Marble Math Jr. might it be possible to include a question reading option if working independently and reading has not been mastered. Whether you use your finger tip to roll your marble around the maze or the motion of your iPad, if an incorrect answer is selected a pop up window will appear. Here users will be able to “try again, show me, or move onto the next question.” It appears that your collected score will not be effected when incorrect answers are chosen. If a user chooses to try again, they will be given another chance at the same question which caused them problems. Repetition of skills is the key to ones success! To support all learning styles, developers have chosen not to include a timing feature. While playing online or mobile device games, some students find a countdown clock frustrating and distracting. However, in order to challenge some students, those “high flyers”, a timing option might be just what they are looking for in the later elementary years.

Overall, Applicable2U would give Marble Math and Marble Math Jr. two thumbs up! Although we have provided some suggestions, it is still very engaging, interactive and academically appropriate for your child ages 5-12. How many free rides, crowns, or magic wands will your son or daughter collect while recognizing numbers, exploring operations, and building their awareness of time, fractions and money? If you would like to learn more about Artgig Apps, please visit their website here. To begin building your academic marble collection, download Marble Math TODAY for only $1.99 by simply clicking here.   Marble Math Jr. can be downloaded by clicking here.

Happi 123

Happi 123 HD – A Math Game for Kids

by Serendipity

Do you have children or students between the ages of 4-7?  As a parent or educator are you wondering how you can make learning math fun?  Then you will want to check out recently updated Happi 123 HD – A Math Game for Kids.  It is designed for your iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later and makes your children or students feel as though they are participating in a game show.  At this time the game can be experienced in four languages: English, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian.  Additional languages will be added as a free update soon.  Come up on stage with their host, an adorable tiger and be rewarded with various types of badges.  At an early age, counting is instinctually done on one’s hands.  Many try to disway children from counting in this format, however, developmentally it is very appropriate.  Happy 123 HD encourages this “natural way” of learning math as it  reinforces various mathematical skills from basic counting to number series, pattern recognition, and addition/subtraction.

Through our exploration we found that Happi 123 HD has so much to offer.  Upon entering the educational app, contestants will notice two gaming options.  We like to call them “finger play” and “let there be light dominos”.  For first time players, contestants might find it useful to begin with finger play as they learn to recognize and count to 10.  As they manipulate numbers through pictures and fingers, players have the ability to earn up to 50 badges.  While in finger play, educators and parents will be pleased to see a number of educational accommodations in place.  Each particular round has a designated badge that will be earned as it will become apart of the game.  To encourage one to one correspondence, contestants will be able to tap each badge as it swings back and forth while players mentally count.  The objective is to count out and match that number on the devices fingers.  Players must answer six questions before that rounds badge can be earned.  Through visual support users will see that number in two ways: on their hand and as an actual number.  If the contestant thinks they have the answer right they are to pull down the lever on the right hand side.  If correct, contestants will be reinforced with a two thumbs up, confetti and a shining light bulb.  Numbers can be counted out on the devices fingers in any way the user chooses.  Once all light bulbs are bright, players may replay and earn addition badges or move onto the next game.

The next round of play is what we call the “Let There Be Light Domino” round.  Here users must drag and drop numbered plugs in a domino like format.  On one end of the plug is the actual number and users must find and plug in its coordinating dice number.  Plugs will rotate in either direction, vertical or horizontal.  A note to the developers – might it be possible that players could rotate plugs on their own?  Thus working on fine motor skills at the same time.  Or even have certain plugs going in the wrong direction, making players use their thinking skills to align the matched numbers.  Once the puzzle has been plugged in correctly, turn the light switch on and see a bulb light up.  See how your adorable tiger host begins to disguise himself.  As you plug in correct matches, contestants have the ability to earn 24 playful disguises.

The game continues to get better as it also incorporates what developers call a timed streak level. During this bonus round users are expected to answer a combination of mathematical concepts until the time runs out. With every correct answer the streak continues.  Applicable2U and our little contestant haven’t reached this round as of yet, but look forward to the challenge.  If in a school or home setting, Happi 123 HD app settings can be manipulated through the devices Settings app.  Here parents or educators can reset badges or disable the Audio Help option.  With 50 badges and 24 disguises to collect, your child or students number sense will certainly advance.  We wonder if after collecting all these items, will our contestant have another opportunity to game for a reason.

If you would like to learn more about HappiPapi and the other educational apps that they have, please visit their website here.  Become the next contestant for puppet master or host, Papi the Tiger by downloading Happi 123 HD to your iPad device today by clicking here.

32 HD

32 HD

by William Gann

Have you ever played the card game Blackjack? It is one of the more popular casino games played all around the world. Known as a banking game in which the aim of the player is to achieve a hand whose points total nearer to 21 than the banker’s hand, but without exceeding 21. You might be wondering why I am referring to a casino game on an educational app review website. This is an excellent question! The game of Blackjack requires players to think on their toes, to add numbers quickly and to leave feeling like a winner. In January of this year, app developer William Gann, created a math application that is simply called 32. While reviewing this educational app, the card game Blackjack came to mind. This very fast paced educational game, 32, also requires players to be on their toes and to use a great deal of thinking in order to be successful. Designed for your iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later, late elementary to even adults will be challenged by this number game.

Amazingly, it is filled with 5 levels of difficulty with over 200 mathematical puzzles in which players must use their higher order thinking skills as it meets a number of math standards along the way.  Although there isn’t a banker per say, the objective is quite the same as Blackjack. The only difference, with only four to five cards, a players total must be equal to 32. Each level within the game builds upon the mathematical concept of the orders of operation. When solving an equation that implements multiple operations, there is a rule that one must follow. Like reading a book, we read from left to right. This same rule applies when solving a mathematical equation, while also keeping in mind what many educators and students know as PEMDAS. PEMDAS is short for “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” an acronym for: parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, adding and subtracting. Regardless of which level is chosen, players are timed, not in the traditional sense, but rather by point value. Upon entering a level, players will see 4-5 colored cards, a fill in the blank equation and a countdown in the upper left hand corner. The countdown begins, not surprisingly, at 3200 points. The quicker you drag and drop cards into the correct position, the more points you earn. Scores are stored within the application based on the highest points earned within each level.

Come up to the chalkboard and show off what you know at each level. 32 is not difficult to navigate. As you enter the classroom, players will be provided general directions on “How to Play” as well as written tutorials upon entering each leveled game. Levels are clearly defined prior to game play. While manipulating cards and solving puzzles in levels 1 – 3, players will have access to only four moveable playing cards in which to get an equation equalling 32. It is important to note, that levels progressively incorporate the orders of operation.

Level 1 – consists of puzzles involving only addition.
Level 2 – consists of puzzles involving adding and subtracting.
Level 3 – consists of puzzles involving adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and parentheses.

Upon entering Level 4, players will immediately notice a slight change in the number of cards available. Instead of four moveable cards, players now have to manipulate and build an equation containing five numbers equalling 32. Puzzles in Level 4 contain the same available operations as level 3. The final challenge happens in Level 5, when players must manipulate four numbers to equal a total of 32 as it integrates all aspects of the orders of operation, exponents included.

There are a number of things that Applicable2U likes about this math application. As software becomes obsolete due to more and more schools implementing mobile devices in school, an application like 32 will certainly have a place in a classroom, on the go, or at home. It very nicely fits the late elementary curriculum standards and can stimulate the oldest of minds. 32 would work as a center activity or part of a whole group lesson with your iPad connected to a large screen projector as mathematical conversations are sparked. Or use just to stimulate ones mind at home in order to reinforce and master skills being taught at school.  Although we are an advocate of the game, there are some things we hope the developers will take into consideration when looking at their next update.

– Might it be possible for those just learning this mathematical skill or who need additional support to incorporate something like a video screencast or jing video modeling the solving procedures prior to playing. By integrating this added feature, your mobile application will be differentiating the learning for all students.

– Also, have you thought about allowing for multiple accounts within the application.  As puzzles are solved, might it be possible to include a username submission box which stores the Top 10 scores within each level.  Thus showing progress made by multiple users.

– For some students or users, the point value timer may be overwhelming.  Might it be possible to set the timer as an option that can be set to on/off as needed.  As suggested by one of our students, the point timer could even be invisible.  It is not until the game is done that this numerical value appears.  In addition, to continue on the theme of added support, might a scratch pad be made available in which users can jot down their work.  As players moved onto levels 4 and 5, this scratch pad feature could become locked after so many attempts at opening it up.

Overall, Applicable2u gives the educational math app 32, two thumbs up!  We have been on the look out for supplemental activities to reinforce such math skills and believe that we have found a winner in 32!!  We were amazed to see that it only costs .99¢ to download to our iPad device.  If you would like to learn more about William Gann, please visit his website here.  It’s time to stimulate your brain and apply known number facts as you follow the orders of operation while playing 32 in the palm of your hands, click here to download today!

Answer 2 Equations

Answer 2 Equations

By Alan Yungen Chien

How often do you spend time playing cards with your child(ren) or students?  Card playing is both academically and socially appropriate for all age levels.  Recently, my kindergartner came home from school looking to teach me a new math card game he had learned that day.  The math program at his school, Everyday Math, emphasizes the curriculum through real-world and concrete examples.  In addition, it provides repeated exposure to various concepts and skills.  That days “at home” math lesson was showing that through a card game, my son was learning math.  As I knew it, it was just a game called “War” when I was a young child.  Cards can be fun as it challenges, sparks ones problem solving skills as they form logical strategies,  all at the same time.  Today’s review is just that!  Recently launched at the end of January, Answer 2 Equations will in fact blow you away as one of their levels of difficulties states.  Designed for an iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later, players will be addicted to understand how to play with every flip of a card.  Use your addition, subtraction, multiplication or division skills to find a match.

Upon entering Answer 2 Equations, card players will be given four options of  play: Easy, Ambitious, Challenging and Mind Blowing.  Prior to making ones choice, it would be important to preview the “Help” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen.  Here players will be provided a written explanation of the objective and how to play within each level.  Regardless of which level of play is chosen, the objective is the same, using 2 or more cards and your knowledge of +,-, x, and ÷, players must find a solution that will match the answer card that is given.  A note to the developers, as parents or children begin to comprehend this educational card app, might it be possible to include not only written explanations, but also some screen shots or video tutorials at each stage of the card game.  Although Applicable2U was capable of reading the “Help” guide, some of the game features were slightly confusing.  Prior to playing, it would be wonderful to see in action the necessary gestures to remove incorrectly tapped cards or how to complete a multi-step mathematical equation.

Each level of play has one thing in common, the screen layout.  On the left hand side, appears the applications name and logo, however, with one simple tap here it will navigate players back to the main menu.  What appears to be an empty gray box is where the problem(s) are created as players attempt to match their solution cards to the answer card right below.  In need of help, simply tap the “help” button and additional options will be provided: Give me a hint, Show full solution, and Don’t need help anymore.  In other levels of play, one additional help feature is added, where players may need an additional card or two.  At the top of the screen, there are a number of options or selections that can change ones game.  When playing in the Easy, Ambitious or Challenging mode, users can increase or decrease the number of cards needed in order to solve and match the answer card.  Games can be timed or untimed, depending on your learning style or academic needs.  The clock setting ranges from 99:00 all the way down to 5:00.  As you attempt to make a mathematical match, use the four colored operations at the top of the screen.  The largest part of the playing screen is designated to the cards.  Cards have numbers on them ranging from 1-12.  There are no zeros nor are negative numbers integrated.  In addition, cards will have the four operations, one of which is circled.  It is important to note, that this circled feature is only used in the more advanced levels.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to build an options menu on the main screen where players could turn the circled operation on/off when it is not academically necessary for game play.  For some learning styles, playing cards may appear too busy.

Answer 2 Equations is very sequential as the levels of difficulty certainly build upon each other.   When playing in the Easy mode, users are developing their number facts as they strategically comprehend how various number combinations can make a similar solution.  While in the Ambitious mode, users are now given a small amount of cards (3-8) which they must then use to build an equation that will  match the answer card.  In this mode, players will need to be familiar with multi-step problem solving.  While problem solving, developers have provided players with a virtual scrap pad since calculators are not allowed.  As players academically progress, the Challenging mode will begin to integrate the circled arithmetic symbol on the answer card.  When finding the solutions in this mode, the circled operation on the answer card must be the last step or function that is performed in order to come up with its solution.  The final mode of play is the Mind Blowing.  Here users are given five cards, solutions must still match the answer card, however, operations can only be used once. The order in which they are used is not important, although it might be interesting to integrate this idea for a future update. Having reviewed many math applications, there are few that Applicable2U has come across that reinforces the orders of operation, PEMDAS. Most educators will refer to the orders of operation by an acronym – Please, Excuse, My, Dear, Aunt, Sally.

Overall, Applicable2U would give this educational math card application two thumbs up!  Math can be found in so many real world situations. Answer 2 Equations is unlike any flashcard, repetition, math game application.   Once game play is understood and the necessary finger taps and slides are grasped, you will not want to turn off your device.  While playing, various emotions will be had along the way, from frustration, to times of complete success.  Regardless, your elementary to middle schooler will be gaming with a reason as they use their higher order thinking skills and apply those strategies learned from their classroom environment.  Come play and have fun with Answer 2 Equations today by downloading it to your iTunes library for only $1.99.