Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks

Common Sense Media says

Terrific tool for learning speedy math tricks.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

There are only three modes of play (Learn, Practice, and Play) on this app, so choosing what to do is easy. The Learn mode tutorials are designed with clean, clear graphics and step-by-step instructions. That said, the app's developers suggest that all kids need is a basic handle on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to utilize this app, which may not be true for many kids. Some kids may find this app too simplified to teach some of the more complex tricks, and they may find the Practice and Play modes too difficult without more explanations and comparisons in the tutorials.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

An ad for the algebra version of Mathemagics with a link to the App Store appears on the main screen when you open the app.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. With iOS 5, players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • subtraction
  • addition
  • division
  • estimation
  • multiplication

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • effort

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids who naturally gravitate toward math are likely to find the multitude of well-explained tricks and shortcuts on this app (as well as the game testing those newfound skills) engaging and fun.

Learning Approach

A deep knowledge of basic math skills is needed to even begin with these sometimes complex tricks, but kids will feel empowered when they do grasp the concepts.

Support

The excellent tutorials use clear, step-by-step graphics. Progress data includes number of correct answers overall, as well as within each method.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • subtraction
  • addition
  • division
  • estimation
  • multiplication

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • effort

Kids can learn how to perform mental math calculations and other shortcuts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, and more. The app helps kids learn how patterns are often embedded in various math tricks that track along certain numbers or operations. It would be even better if this app provided side-by-side examples showing the standard way of solving problems along with the trick, so kids could conceptualize how they can be interchanged and why the trick works. For kids who like to learn different ways to tackle math, Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks can provide dozens of new ways to solve problems.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Do you have any math or spelling tricks that you learned when you were in school? Share them with your kid.

  • Talk with your kid about why learning tricks like this and thinking about numbers in different ways is good for your brain, like flexing your mental muscles!

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
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

This review of Mathemagics -- Mental Math Tricks was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide