Meteor Math

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Meteor Math App Poster Image
Arcade game collides with math drills with mixed results.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to improve their speed in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as they work through arcade-style drills in Meteor Math. Unlike traditional flash cards, the app gives kids the solution, then kids combine two or more numbers to reach that solution. While it can be fun and effective, for subtraction and division kids don't have to select the numbers in order, making it more difficult to gauge kids' understanding. Plus, there are a few other glaring omissions. Arcade-style math fun is undermined by lack of progress tracking, customization options, and profiles.

Ease of Play

Meteor Math is very easy to play. A graphic explains how to play each mode before you enter the game screens. There are three modes -- "practice," "compete," and "survival" -- but really very little difference between play in each mode.

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The "More Stuff" icon links to the developer's page, which contains its many other apps -- each linking to the App Store for purchase.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that METEOR MATH is sort of like an outer space meteor-blasting arcade game that incorporates basic math drills. In a method that uses the reverse of most flash cards, the game gives the player a number at the top of the screen and the player has to to choose the correct two meteors (which have numbers written on them) to collide and make that number -- either by addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, whichever one the player has chosen. For subtraction and division kids don't have to select the numbers in the correct order. Kids level up or down depending upon how many they've answered correctly. Point totals are given. As the timer counts down on matching the right meteors to get an answer, a warning buzzer sounds. If the correct meteors are not collided in the given time, the player loses one three "lives," depicted in the corner as icons of planets.

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What's it about?

One number appears at the top of the game's screen. Players must choose two or more meteors out of many floating around, which also have numbers on them, to collide to match that top number -- either by addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Once the player selects a correct combination, the meteors explode and another "answer" number appears. Kids level up or down depending upon how many correct answers they give. If the correct meteors are not chosen in the given time, the player loses one of three "lives," unless they're in practice mode.

Is it any good?

Especially for kids who like arcade-style collision games, METEOR MATH will likely be a fun way to practice basic math operations. The colorful screen and fast-paced drill is addictive and effective. It's great practice for kids to see there's more than one way to arrive at a number, whether adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.

However, kids don't have to choose numbers in the correct order for subtraction or division -- so it's not clear whether a kid thinks 6 is 4-2 or 2-4, for example. It would be nice if there was a way to customize the starting point for students who are further along the path of math facts. Also, the high scores section is a bit confusing, and there's no way to turn off the sound, including the emergency horn honking that sounds as players reach the point of losing a "life" if they don't solve the problem.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If your kids don't like timed games or buzzers at the end of a "life," encourage them not to watch the timing bar in the corner and to turn off the sound on your device, which can be a distraction.

  • Challenge your kid to create different combinations to reach a solution.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: arithmetic, division, multiplication
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release date: September 22, 2011
  • Category: Educational Games
  • Size: 11.70 MB
  • Publisher: Mindshapes
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.0 or later

For kids who love learning math

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