Montessori 1st Operations
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Montessori 1st Operations is a well-designed math activities app based on Montessori principles and tools. Kids can practice basic addition and subtraction (1-99) in a concrete, visual way, and become familiar with the building blocks to division and multiplication. The games include recognizable Montessori characteristics -- kid-friendly explanations of math definitions and concepts -- and Montessori materials, such as red and blue number rods and counters. There are no in-app purchases or ads, but there is a tab on the main page that takes kids to promos for the developer's other apps.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- part-whole relationships
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
For kids familiar with Montessori instruction and tools, this app's activities will be especially engaging. The fun monster-making game provides a reward that also engages kids in creative play.
Kids will learn by hearing the concepts, by working through problems, and playing games. The monster-building rewards add a fun, creative component to this app.
An excellent Note to Parents section provides details about how to help kids use the activities on the app. The settings include many customizations that help tweak the games to each user's current math abilities.
What's it about?
Create a user profile. Then kids tap an activity: addition, subtraction, doubles, or halves. Hear a brief explanation of the concept. Tap the arrow to move to the activity. In the addition activity, the Montessori number rods appear and the narrator says: "Can you solve this addition? Two plus three equals..." Corresponding number rods are shown. Kids slide the 5 number rod into place to solve. Tap Monster Lab to view points earned, purchase from the monster shop, and build a monster.
Is it any good?
MONTESSORI 1ST OPERATIONS approaches math concepts from different ways, while providing clear instructions about the concepts: "To add up means to put together." Visuals -- such as number rods and counters, and monster parts of all shapes and sizes -- and audio explanations take center stage here, while number symbols are secondary, especially useful for kids who don't take to numerical digits. The games adapt to each user's performance. Unlike some Montessori-based activities, however, kids earn points based on the amount they complete; they use these points to buy parts of monsters to build. The noises that the monsters make are far more frenzied and goofy than one will find on other Montessori-based apps or real-life learning activities, but users can turn off the sounds on the start page.
An excellent Note to Parents section, 11 languages, and detailed settings make Montessori 1st Operations kid- and parent-friendly. While not as clearly aligned with traditional Montessori style as some other recent Montessori-based apps, Montessori 1st Operations is still a good choice to help kids understand the concepts behind math and play with those concepts in new ways.
Families can talk about...
Create a username for each kid and make use of the many settings to customize play to each kid's current math level.
As kids build their reward monsters, discuss how many points each part costs, why they may cost that much, and ask kids how they decided which parts to spend their points on.