Math Agent

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Math Agent App Poster Image
Kids battling with math as their weapons = everyone wins.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice calculating area and arithmetic and understanding different types of numbers (odd, even, prime, composite). 

Ease of Play

Players can access a tutorial when they launch a game (a prompt asks if they are new) or via a "Game Info" menu choice. Game occasionally freezes/crashes.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Math Agent is a virtual math card game that is designed to help kids practice their math skills. Some of the cards are fairly advanced -- fifth- to seventh-grade level -- including exponents, and the area of circles, triangles, and quadrilaterals, and there's no way to choose which skills to use, although there are 3 difficulty levels. Most of the cards have explanations on them and kids should get the hang of it after a couple of rounds. While the cards have examples, kids will do best if they already have a basic understanding of the math concepts. The iOS app occasionally crashes or freezes. 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?

MATH AGENT pits kids against a friend or family member or an AI character. In single-player mode, kids play against the computer, but in multiplayer, they can play against another device on the same network (Androids can pair with Androids, iOS with iOS). A game of rock, paper, scissors chooses the starting player. This player chooses an attack card and one or more number cards to go with it. For example, the multiplication/division card allows you to choose two numbers from your hand and multiply them for an attack. The exponent card allows players to choose one of their cards and pair it with a 2 card to play that number times itself. There are also "Unstoppable Attack" cards that are not easily defended. The end result of the math equation is the attack score. The second player then chooses a defense that cancels out the attack score if possible. This could mean subtracting a number, multiplying by zero, or figuring out the perimeter of a shape using the value of one card. If the defense value is higher, nothing happens, but if it's lower, the defender loses the difference in points. The goal is to deplete your opponent's score before they deplete yours. There are various special cards, such as the x>y card, which means that the attacker is betting that the numbers in his or her hand add up to more than those in the defendant's hand. Math Agent also includes "Challenges," which are math drills around specific skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Completing a challenge unlocks a special card that players can use in their game.

Is it any good?

This is a clever way for kids to practice math skills together while having a lot of fun along the way even for reluctant math learners. Math Agent plays on the popularity of trading card games (such as Pokémon) while sneaking in lots of practice. It's quite brilliant and it's bound to draw in kids who love a bit of a challenge and a lot of competition. It would be helpful if there were mini-lessons for each of the cards beyond the basics. The descriptions and examples on the cards help, but if kids haven't learned a skill or term, there's not enough to help them figure it out. The iOS version of the app occasionally freezes and crashes, which is especially frustrating at the end of a long multiplayer match when you're in the lead. Still, it's a way to make math more fun and to engage with each other and it's something that can be enjoyed across skill levels. A great add for late elementary and middle school devices.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about math in general and using apps like Math Agent to practice. What do each of the cards in the game mean? How might you use those skills in real life?

  • Families can talk about learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why, or why not? What can you learn? 

App details

For kids who love math games and apps

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