The Digits: Fraction Blast
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Digits: Fraction Blast is a math-learning app that takes the form of a television-show-like "appisode." This rock-band-meets-space-mission show includes lots of interactive games for kids to practice the fractions skills they're learning. For $9.99, parents can receive email updates about what their kids have learned and some ideas for how to extend the learning. Note that kids can access YouTube from the app's main screen to see more Digits adventures, although this feature wasn't functional in some versions of the app.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
Engagement, Approach, Support
The app turns an educational TV show into an interactive "appisode," engaging kids in a fun story line with which they can participate by solving problems, tapping buttons, and shaking the iPad when prompted to move the story along.
Fractions come alive through a zany story line and interactive elements. Kids are rewarded with achievements. Parents can get email notices about what kids have learned and how to extend those lessons into real-life math activities.
Verbal instructions are clear, and visual prompts jump out from the other appisode content. Parents can get email notices alerting them to what kids have learned and how to extend the lessons into real-life activities, such as cooking.
What's it about?
Parents enter an email address and then create a user account for each kid to track progress. Kids tap Play on the same main screen to watch the intro to the appisode, which explains, "This isn't one of those things you can sit and watch...we need your help." Interactive elements, such as "breaking" the screen in half by shaking it and then pinching it back together, pop up throughout the show. Some include direct fraction-problem-solving, while others don't.
Is it any good?
THE DIGITS: FRACTION BLAST is a great way to introduce kids to fraction concepts via a silly space adventure story with endearing characters. The "appisodes" feature three zany main characters -- one human, one alien, and one robot -- who form the space-traveling band the Digits. Their bad-guy nemesis, record label owner Doomfinger, is out to get them. Numerous challenges arise during the comedic drama that all somehow can be solved using fractions. As kids finish each segment of the show (about as long as most PBS educational shows), they earn a cool achievement icon.
A minor quibble: Some of the fights between our hero and Zoomfinger create some really loud (bordering on obnoxious) banter. If you can get past the noise, however, there's a lot to be learned here. The Digits: Fraction Blast approaches fraction concepts through visually memorable and repetitive ways.
Families can talk about...
Watch the appisode with your kid and mention when you hear science and math concepts as part of the band's problem-solving.
Talk about fractions in everyday life.