A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks teaches kids how to perform math problems faster. Kids learn patterns and other tricks that play out across certain mathematical operations and numbers in amazing ways. There are more than 50 tricks to learn, and three modes of play in which to learn them. The app promo says that only basic math skills in addition, subtraction, simple multiplication, and division are needed to learn these tricks. For many kids, however, those skills will need to be very strong before they're ready to tackle some of these tricks and use them on tests or in homework. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What's it about?
Kids can choose from three modes of play on MATHEMAGICS -- MENTAL MATH TRICKS: Learn, Practice, and Play. In Learn, kids choose a trick to learn from a list by tapping "Tricks." Tricks ranging from multiplication to perfect squares pop up with step-by-step explanations to read. Kids practice the tricks in Practice mode by once again choosing a trick from the same list and answering a number of multiple-choice practice problems related to that trick. If kids aren't getting the correct answers, they can view the lesson from that mode again. In Play mode, kids answer random tricks in random order.
Is it any good?
Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks is perfect for kids who want to do math problems faster, as long as they are willing to try thinking about them from different angles to learn the tricks. For kids who are not inclined to enjoy mental gymnastics, the tricks taught on this app may be frustrating. For example, to multiply any number by 99, the trick teaches kids to multiply that number by 100 and subtract the original number from the result in the first step to get the answer. Some kids may find that incredibly cool and remember the trick and apply it during tests; others may prefer just to write it out as a standard multiplication problem and solve. In the hands of willing kids, this is a fantastic math app. For others, it will likely be more frustrating than functional.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Math: addition, division, estimation, multiplication, patterns, subtraction
- Skills: Self-Direction: effort
Thinking & Reasoning: memorization, problem solving
- Price: $1.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: December 12, 2012
- Category: Education
- Size: 13.30 MB
- Publisher: Blue Lightning Labs
- Version: 4.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
For kids who love math
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.