Motion Math: Hungry Fish

App review by
Michelle Kitt, Common Sense Media
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Awesome interactive game boosts speed and accuracy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn and memorize addition and subtraction facts. They combine positive numbers to add. To subtract, they combine positive and negative numbers. Kids may know some facts already but can learn others by experimenting with number combinations and trial and error to reach a target sum or difference. Motion Math: Hungry Fish is a great tool to improve mental math, memorization, speed, and acuity.

Ease of Play

Interaction is simple: Touch, drag, and combine number bubbles and then feed them to the fish. The fish responds by growing when it gets food and shrinking when it doesn't get enough.

Violence & Scariness

Cave games introduce a Mad Fish that can eat your fish if you don't succeed the level.

Sexy Stuff

The $1.99 version of the app offers in-app purchases to unlock the full app. The $5.99 pro version includes all levels. An icon on the home screen leads to a list of more apps from the developer; tapping an app leads to a "parents and teachers" only alert before connecting to the App Store. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the math game Motion Math: Hungry Fish helps kids learn and strengthen mental math skills in addition and subtraction. It is currently only available through the Motion Math app, which combines six games into a single app that requires a subscription service to play ($2.99 monthly, or $29.99 annually). It's designed for a wide range of grade levels, and with several games and difficulty levels it can give kids years of practice as their math skills grow. More than one player can register, and difficulty levels can be changed so multiple kids can play without affecting other players' progress or scores.

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What's it about?

Kids combine two or more number bubbles to create a number a hungry fish wants to eat. To subtract, kids combine positive and negative numbers. Levels of difficulty vary by speed and what the fish wants, and leveling up depends on how fast the fish grows. In Caves games, a Mad Fish eats wrong answers and endangers the hungry fish. Rewards include points and options to customize the fish. To change the difficulty level, pause any game or visit the options area.

Is it any good?

The touch, drag, and combine actions in MOTION MATH: HUNGRY FISH act similarly to the ways in which kids learn with number cubes. They'll like the immediate feedback they get, too, as the fish responds to getting enough correct number-bubble combinations. It won't take long for kids to learn which numbers combine to create what the fish wants; if there’s a floating 12 and the fish wants a 5, listen for them to say, "Come on, negative 7!" The game promotes memorization of number combinations, which is a key factor in mathematical fluency. It’s an excellent practice tool but does not cover how number symbols represent concrete amounts. (Hungry Guppy, for younger kids, does that).

A few features help gauge kids' learning. Each game is timed so that if the fish is not fed enough, he shrinks until he -- and the player -- no longer survives. Once kids learn to make correct combinations, there are two ways to advance: If they're speedy about feeding the fish what it wants so it grows really big pronto, kids automatically win the level and advance to the next hardest one. If a player’s pace allows the fish to survive the level but not grow really big, lots of correct number bubbles appear as a reward and to end the level.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the variety of ways they use math on a daily basis.

  • Make a "math machine." In a spreadsheet, enter an addition or subtraction formula into a cell in Column C. Have kids experiment by entering positive and negative numbers in the same row in columns A and B.


  • Practice offline with cubes and number lines.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows app
  • Subjects: Math: addition, arithmetic, subtraction
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, memorization, problem solving
  • Price: $1.99-$5.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid (A $1.99 version offers in-app purchases to unlock the full app; the $5.99 pro version includes all levels.)
  • Release date: November 14, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Numbers and Letters
  • Size: 21.40 MB
  • Publisher: Motion Math
  • Version: 2.7.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.1 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

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