Team Umizoomi: Math Racer
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Team Umizoomi: Math Racer is an arcade-style racing game featuring characters from the Nickelodeon program Team Umizoomi. Kids design a race car and then drive it on the track, collecting coins and avoiding obstacles and taking pit stops to do a bit of math. The coins add up to earn more accessories for the cars, and kids earn trophies to add to the trophy room for completing different tasks. Early math skills covered include identifying numbers, recognizing more and fewer, number sequence, and addition and subtraction. Up to four users can create accounts to play on the same device.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- making new creations
Health & Fitness
- fine motor skills
Engagement, Approach, Support
The math problems are incorporated into the car theme via the pit stop, keeping kids engaged, but kids may see the math as taking them away from the racing fun since they literally stop racing to answer the math questions and then rejoin the race.
Kids are empowered to make choices related to their car. The math, though, isn't baked in to the game but is added on as a pit stop. The challenge increases as kids answer correctly, and kids are guided to the correct answer after two incorrect guesses.
Four users can keep accounts on one device, saving their cars and trophies and math progress. The trophies are awarded for race achievements, not math achievements.
What's it about?
Play starts in the garage where kids design their race vehicle, choosing the body, engine, paint colors, wheels, decals, and accessories. Then they can choose their racer from three Umizoomi characters and start the race where they'll collect coins to earn prizes and avoid obstacles. They'll make a pit stop to complete three car-related math challenges and then get back to the track. Kids go off-track sometimes, too, flying through the air or going underwater. After the race, coins are added up and trophies awarded.
Is it any good?
TEAM UMIZOOMI: MATH RACER does a great job integrating the racing theme throughout play. Kids will feel like race car drivers choosing and decking out their cars, racing and maintaining them through the pit stops, and then earning trophies for their race achievements. The math curriculum covered is impressive, too, starting with number recognition and the counting sequence and moving to addition and subtraction and counting by tens. The math pit stop is a cute way to integrate math thematically, but math isn't integrated into the actual race at all or into the car-building, making the learning seem tacked on. The race runs a little long for short preschooler attention spans with each segment running more than two minutes, and it'd be nice to see some math incorporated there -- like counting the coins as they are collected in the race.
The controls are excellent. Letting kids choose between tapping and swiping the screen to move the car or to tilting the device is pure genius. Kids will have a blast playing, but since it is a relatively pricey app, parents need to be aware that math practice, while quality, is sparse.
Families can talk about...
Incorporate numbers into daily conversations. Identify numbers on signs when driving or walking, count grapes as you snack, or count the steps as you walk.
Point out to kids that they can change the driving style in the racing game by tapping the icon at the top left of the screen. They can choose from tilting to control the car or using their finger on the touch screen.
|Devices:||iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire|
|Pricing structure:||Paid (Google Play - $2.99 iTunes -- $3.99 Amazon - $4.99 iTunes HD version - $6.99)|
|Release date:||December 16, 2013|
|Topics:||Cars and trucks, Numbers and letters|
|Minimum software requirements:||iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up|