Math 8: Talk math with Leon!

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Math 8: Talk math with Leon! App Poster Image
Fancy tech immerses kids in bulky space-themed drills.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about basic 3rd grade math concepts. Topics include: numbers, operations, mental math, word problems, and measurement.

Ease of Play

Tutorials spell out most how-tos but play remains complicated. The program is large and navigating through it can be confusing and unwieldy.

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The free download includes limited content. Subscribe to unlock the full program.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Math 8: Talk math with Leon! is a subscription-based program that uses speech recognition, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) to engage kids with basic math drills. Math topics mostly cover the 3rd grade level, though kids in lower and upper grades may also find games of interest. The free download includes limited access to content; unlock it all with a subscription. To use all the technological features, parents need to allow access to their device's microphone for voice recognition and camera for AR. Though if parents don't want to grant access, kids can still play by typing in their answers and playing games that don't use AR. Kids can also send iMessages with games and progress reports, though they need to pass through a parent gate by entering their year of birth to do so. Parents can design their own game questions in the Create an Exercise section. The settings menu includes an option to turn off the background music. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Leon the alien is visiting planet Earth and wants to play math games in MATH 8: TALK MATH WITH LEON! Leon begins by asking kids if they want to play in the Bronze, Silver, or Gold level, and continues as he asks what kinds of drills kids want to do. Different games require different interaction from kids: e.g., for some, kids say or type answers, for others VR or AR help kids see possible answers all around them and they must move their device around to point it at their answer choice. Activities cover topics like arithmetic, mental math, fractions, measurement, and more. Kids accumulate points that allow them to progress or get free passes to skip difficult questions. Other functions include sending and responding to messages through iMessage, customizing your own quiz questions, and talking with Leon.  

Is it any good?

Fancy features add an element of excitement to math drills but feel out of place with bulky menu design and low-tech graphics. The developers of Math 8: Talk math with Leon! put a lot of thought into using the latest and greatest in interactive technology to engage kids with what can otherwise be dry material. Leon is a pretty good conversational pal -- as long as the conversation is about what he's programmed to talk about (i.e., math problems). He'll even give kids a couple hints when they're having trouble finding the right answer to a question. The VR and AR also create immersive environments that place kids in the center of a world of numbers to explore. That said, all the fancy stuff may end up being more a distraction than a learning aid, particularly because navigating through Math 8: Talk math with Leon! isn't straightforward or easy. Menus and buttons aren't clearly designed, and games sometimes have complicated play procedures. And, given all the sophistication in the software, it's odd to see such low quality graphics. At this point, Math 8: Talk math with Leon! feels like work in progress. Check out the free content really well to see if it works for your kid before committing to a subscription.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the math concepts covered in Math 8: Talk math with Leon! Which ones are challenging for your kid? What do they already know?

  • Discuss the use of technology in Math8: Talk math with Leon! Is the AR, VR, and voice recognition fun? Does it make you more interested in practicing math? Is it distracting?

  • Engage your kids with math in your everyday lives and make it fun. A cooking project can turn into an exploration of fractions, measurements, or arithmetic. A game of pool (billiards) is about angles, and Monopoly can be a great way to practice mental math equations.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: arithmetic, fractions, measurement, money
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($3.99/mo.; $19.99/6 mos.; $34.99/1 year)
  • Release date: November 1, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Numbers and Letters, Space and Aliens
  • Size: 711.60 MB
  • Publisher: L&J
  • Version: 1.9
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.3 or later
  • Last updated: November 25, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love math games and augmented reality

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