There are many math apps for the ipad / iphone and ipod, and they all do the important task of trying to get kids to engage in math – a subject that can be challenging and frustrating for many kids. But we’re not talking about any old math problem, we’re talking about fractions and all it’s iterations including percentages, decimals and pie charts.
Motion Math tries a different approach to other math apps, it uses the accelerometer on the device to get the kids to physically engage in the game by guiding a bouncing ball to the correct answer. The app also manages somehow to “channel” the spirit of hugely popular games such as Angry Bird and Doodle Jump with great graphics and a mesmerizing game style. One of the things that I like about the game it that it rewards the right and just breezes over wrong answers so you keep on going – until of course you’ve used all of your lives. Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really is. Ideally you want kids to keep on trying to work out the right answer and not be negatively “rewarded” with a silly sound, a big red cross or a monkey giving you the evil eye – it happens!
My 4, 6 and 8 year olds enjoyed playing with it – as did I – although the target audience would probably be 8 to 14 years. Now the interesting thing is that the 4 and 6 year old haven’t really been introduced much to fractions and so seemed more open to the game. The 8 year old was skeptical because it was still trying to “teach math” – and a subject that is difficult. This leads me to believe that introducing this type of learning program IN SCHOOLS along side a more traditional curriculum could really help kids engage and enjoy a variety of subjects – not just math.
Bottom line, this is an educational app not a regular game and kids are probably not going to pick it up and play with it over Doodle Jump or Fastlane Street Racing. However, if you want them to practice and enjoy learning fractions, get them Motion Math.
A final note, studies have shown that it is important to keep your brain active as you get older – so games like this might be more than just educational apps for kids, but also help keep your own grey matter working. And if that’s true I’m going to be one clever mother!