A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Learn Math is a math-themed educational game that provides a broad spectrum of math challenges for kids between the ages of six and ten. The majority of activities are in the style of those found in workbooks and focus on basic skills including arithmetic, geometry, and time. Older kids will have no problem understanding what to do, but younger ones will need the help of parents to discern what is required of them in certain activities.
What's it about?
LEARN MATH provides mathematical activities suitable for ages six through ten, or grades one through four. Kids will practice how to add and subtract, multiply and divide, count money and tell time, work with shapes, solve word problems, and carry out mathematical operations in their heads. Just pick a grade and a topic and a little green-skinned, vampire-like creature named Freddy will lead you through problem after problem. After completing enough activities in a given grade, a mini-game with a vague mathematical theme will be unlocked, such as an activity that involves pushing boxes around geometric rooms to indicated spaces.
Is it any good?
Based solely on pedagogical value, Learn Math scores well. It is in many ways just an interactive workbook, providing good practice in the sorts of math problems that kids typically encounter in the classroom. Kids will perform basic arithmetic, solve word problems, and learn tricks to perform quick calculations in their heads. It’s not comprehensive, but kids who spend significant time with the game will likely come away with their arithmetic skills at least slightly polished.
It’s just a shame that it all feels so dry. Many sections of the game feel no more exciting than working through sheets of problems handed out by a teacher. There’s a little game at the end of each grade -- including a match-three puzzler and an Arkanoid clone -- but these are too simple to serve as real rewards. Plus some of the problems -- not to mention the instructions for certain activities -- are poorly worded and overly difficult to understand. Kids will learn, but whether they’ll have any more fun than they do at school is debatable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of math in our daily lives as well as in specific professions. At what times do we all need to be able to count, add, and subtract quickly and accurately? Which sort of jobs demand more advanced mathematical skills?
Discuss different ways of performing mathematical calculations, such as longhand and mental arithmetic. Are you comfortable carrying out calculations in your mind? Do you know any tricks to make specific mental calculations quicker and more reliable?
Do you like practicing math by playing math games?
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