Monday, July 16, 2012

Math Doodles

Math Doodles was created by Carsten Studios Inc., by Dan Carstens, an early math hater who later found ways to make math fun. This is a unique perspective for a math app designer! Math is one of the subjects where you often hear kids and even adults saying, "I hate math," or "Math is just not something I'm good at." This is more true in America than most other countries. So any way we can make math thought of as less of a dread is great. Does Math Doodles accomplish this? Price: $2.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: Math Doodles presents three games: Sums Stackers, Connect Sums, and Unknown Square. They are all variations on getting the dice (or whatever representation you choose) to add up to a target sum (9=4+5=3+3+3=8+1, etc). This helps to increase fluency and flexibility in thinking about these otherwise simple, but perhaps boring, math problems. Sum Stackers and Unknown Square a bit more logical thinking as they have an extra layer of problem solving involved (See video). So overall, I think that Math Doodles can attract kids who may not love math, but love puzzles and want to solve things. This is definitely a great way to get them to do some math, all disguised as a puzzle. For kids who are struggling with math, they will probably need some help getting started and to help focus them on the game elements so that they don't get frustrated with the math. So while I don't think that Math Doodles will make everyone love math, it will attract a larger audience than a more straight forward math game. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 6 years).

Balance: The art work definitely has a doodle-like feel. It's all pretty straight forward. Offering all the different representations is a nice touch without being distracting, but some will be easier representations than others. I wonder if there could be a hint mode for when players get stuck. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: The different modes of play (race, solve, etc). are good variations. A high scores list would be a great addition to help keep kids going. There's also an easy and difficult setting. Having all three games be about adding might get repetitive, what about other operations? Rating: 3.5/5

Parental Involvement: This is definitely a game parents could play too. There's no multiplayer mode though. Parents and teachers should definitely make sure to relate these math skills back to the classroom. Rating: 3.5/5

Total: 15 out of 20 - 4 stars

Disclosure: I received this app for free for review purposes.

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