Understanding Math - Addition and Subtraction

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Understanding Math - Addition and Subtraction App Poster Image
Interactive practice tool has touchscreen issues.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn and practice strategies for addition and subtraction. A setting allows them to decide whether the problems will require adding or subtracting within 20 or within 100. Kids can choose to work with a mode that requires them to tap their fingers on the screen to represent each addend in an equation. If done correctly, the sum automatically appears to complete the equation. This method is a good way to help kids understand addition as the sum of two (or more) numbers. Kids also have an opportunity to work with place values when adding or subtracting or to mentally add and subtract with a place-value model available at the bottom of the screen. An emphasis on place-value models helps kids visualize more advanced concepts such as regrouping. While Understanding Math - Addition and Subtraction offers interesting methods to explore math concepts, its glitches limit its potential.

Ease of Play

Navigation is intuitive, but some of the touchscreen controls are a challenge to use.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The information section has links that take parents to iTunes, where they can purchase the developer's other apps.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Understanding Math – Addition and Subtraction is an elementary mathematics practice tool. Kids can select from several modes of play, which present addition and subtraction problems in various ways. For example, in one mode, kids solve addition problems by tapping the screen with the correct number of fingers. In another mode, they drag and drop the correct number of tens and ones to get the solutions. The game is highly interactive and incorporates a variety of touchscreen commands, but some of these are not seamlessly translated; the app is available for purchase in 16 languages, including English, French, Spanish, and more. Read the app's privacy policy to learn more about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In UNDERSTANDING MATH – ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION, there are six options for play. In Addition – Tap with your fingers, kids tap their fingers on the screen to represent each addend in an addition equation. The addends appear as objects, and the sum appears in the equation. Kids can pop the objects before moving on to the next problem. In Addition, kids add using place value by dragging down the correct tens and ones to represent each addend. If done correctly, the sum automatically appears. In Subtraction, kids also drag down the correct tens and ones to find the difference of two numbers. In Training, write the solutions to addition and subtraction problems on the screen. A place-value model is provided at the bottom of the screen. In Duel, kids can compete with another player, and each player can select a difficulty level between 1 and 4. The first to enter the correct solution wins a star, and five stars wins the game. Finally, in Toolbox, kids can enter their own addition or subtraction equations. The game accommodates multiple users and tracks each user's performance.

Is it any good?

This game is a valuable learning tool that presents math concepts in various ways, but be prepared for some issues with the touchscreen controls. Using a variety of methods to represent the steps involved in addition and subtraction helps kids better understand these concepts. The opportunity to earn rewards and to challenge another player motivates kids to improve fluency. However, some gameplay controls are frustrating. For example, tapping the screen for larger addends, such as 9 or 10, can be very difficult. If all fingers do not tap at the same time, kids get the answer wrong. Writing answers with a finger is also a challenge; the program often does not recognize a handwritten number, even if it is written properly. These glitches can distract kids from the learning experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their favorite gameplay mode in this app. Which is the most fun, and which helps explain the concepts the best?

  • Compete with kids in the Duel mode. Be sure to select 4 as your level to give kids a fighting chance.

  • Use the Toolbox mode with kids. One of you should write the equations, and the other should find the solutions. Then swap roles.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: addition, subtraction
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, memorization, part-whole relationships
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: April 29, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 34.90 MB
  • Publisher: appp media UG
  • Version: 1.0.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1.1 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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