Makes practicing multiplication fun by incorporating it into an endless runner game
What we’d love to see…
Ability to limit to x10, individual player profiles, different speed levels
Overall, a fun way for kids to practice their multiplication skills whilst playing an Endless Runner game, Running Noah has 48 levels to work on times tables from 1-4 all the way up to 12x.
Learning the times tables takes a lot of repetition, which children often find boring. They’d rather be playing their favorite video game instead of practicing math facts. Running Noah from Useability is a new app that uses children’s love of video games to give them lots of repetition of their multiplication facts whilst playing a fun game.
Running Noah is an Endless Runner, it has four episodes each with 12 levels. You need to unlock a level to move on to the next level. The four episodes have different themes and work on 1-4 times tables, 5-8 times tables, 9-12 times tables and 1-12 times tables respectively. The first episode (1-4 times tables) is free, there is an IAP (currently $1.99) to unlock the rest.
The flood has just begun and Noah is on a mission to save all the animals and get them into the Ark. As the storm waters rise the land is divided into a series of islands by raging streams. To rescue the animals Noah must build bridges across the streams and also collect food for the animals on the way.
Beside every stream is a stone tablet with a number on it, and on the right of the screen are three numbers from the current series of times tables the student is working from. Tapping on the right of the screen brings up three more numbers and the player has to tap one number from reach column to create a multiplication problem whose answer is the number on the tablet. The player has to think quickly as Noah keeps running, if he gets to the stream before they have completed the problem he falls in the water. If they create the correct problem a bridge forms and he runs safely to the next island. If they create an incorrect problem the bridge still forms but it collapses when Noah runs across, and he falls in the water. After solving three problems correctly Noah reaches the stranded animal and gets him onto the Ark which completes the level.
As Noah is always running the player has to think quickly to keep him from falling in the water, but collecting food adds another layer of complexity. All the animals on the Ark need feeding and food (corn, fish, pineapples or acorns) is above Noah’s head as he runs. To collect it the player has to double tap to make Noah jump at the right time. If they collect very little food the food meter turns red and Noah runs out of energy. Players can replay levels to collect food they have missed, and improve their score, and they need to complete the multiplication problems correctly each time to complete that level.
Although the gameplay is in essence very simple, completing the levels does take quick thinking, fast recall and good reflexes. Even as an adult with good mental arithmetic skills I found I often had to replay levels to get perfect scores as it is tricky to answer the problems fast enough and time the jumps right to collect the food.
For each times table the problems include multipliers up to 12 e.g. the lowest level could include 4 x 12. Although this was how I learned my times tables, I have noticed some schools now only teach up to x 10. I would like to see an option to limit it to x10, if your child is learning that way. I would also like an option to add multiple player profiles, so that families with more than one child working on their multiplication skills can track their individual progress and let them compete against each other.
The app has an online leaderboard in it- but kids can not sign up from within the app (a good thing) a link is provided so that parents can enter it in a browser and sign up for the leaderboard if they wish to do so. Once they have completed all levels if the enter a parents email address they will be sent a certificate of completion.
I think the game is designed to be fast paced so that children will have to repeat levels multiple times to get high scores, so that they get a lot of repetition which is a good thing. However, some children with slower reflexes or slower processing speeds may find it frustrating that although they know the answers to the problem they can’t complete the problems in time to stop Noah falling in the water, or they can’t co-ordinate their tapping quickly enough to answer the questions and jump for the food. With this in mind I’d like to see an option to have different speeds – maybe an Easy, Regular and Fast speed so that slower children can still use the app and to give different levels of challenge which would encourage even more repetition as skills improve.
Overall, a fun way for kids to practice their multiplication skills whilst playing an Endless Runner game, Running Noah has 48 levels to work on times tables from 1-4 all the way up to 12x. The app is free to download an include the first episode (12 levels) for free – this is a good way to test the app and see if it catches your child’s interest. If it does the $1.99 to unlock the rest of the app is good value. It is child friendly with no adverts, social media or external links.
beautiful graphics, multiplayer option, a “redo” button in case you get stuck with a challenge and multiple different types of science taught
What we’d love to see…
a demo on the first level of each “new” castle in the easy mode
I love that the app teaches #stem and #commoncore and encourages kids to play and learn at the same time. I never thought teaching a child physics could be so fun!
Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens by AVOKIDDO is a universal app for iOS that uses creative thinking, problem solving and logic skills to move to the next level. This action packed multiplayer app contains 228 levels of play and works well for both younger and older children (and adults!) The premise of the app is fairly straighforward, create a character and roll them through the obstacles to capture the magic key. Each level gets harder with slightly harder obstacles and more difficult challenges. There are six different castles to complete which I will describe below.
● Gear & Rack: combine gears with racks to create ladders & conveyor belts
● Chest & Bridge: fill gaps and collapse swaying bridges to clear the way
● Crocodile & Harp: use the harp to lull the crocodile to sleep
● Ghost & Mirror: shift the mirror to eliminate the ghost with reflected light
● Hatch & Lever: switch the lever to open and close hatches
● Flying Potion: unleash the magic potion to defy gravity and fly to the finish
Each of the castles has a “redo” button in case you get stuck within the level and can’t progress on. The castles have beautiful artwork with amazing detail down to the strings on the harp which is used to lull the crocodile to sleep. In each of the castles, as you complete each challenge you unlock the next level which also unlocks additional items that you can dress your character with. Within the app when you tap the “gear” at the top of the screen you can choose the player, type of levels which are “easy” for kids aged 5-8 and “hard” for kids aged 8+. For purposes of the review, we tested the app on “easy” mode with my 8 year old. You can also toggle on/off the in-game music and select the language.
I loved how the app encouraged my son to problem solve to master each level – there were a few times when he brought me the iPad because he couldn’t figure out the challenge the first time like using the harp to put the crocodile to sleep. As the levels got harder, he got better at problem solving and I loved how he realized that if he didn’t “solve” it the first time he could try different things until he was able to do so. I love the life skill here too because it showed him that even if we have regular challenges in life maybe the traditional way we approached the problem, might not always be the solution. The animations within the app ranging from the crocodile mouth to the use of reflection with the ghost & mirror were amazing and I could really tell that AVOKIDDO spent a lot of time testing and perfecting the app to ensure things worked well and as planned. I definitely also noticed that my son used a lot of great words to describe all the things he was learning to explain the science concepts – which we also discussed. I never imagined physics could be so fun for an 8 year old and that he would understand the concepts after just playing with the app to master each of the levels! Each of the levels targets a specific type of skill like gravity, force, joints or even simple machines and gets progressively harder as you progress within the app. As a mom, I loved that I could play with the app using my own player to play with castles that were more suited to my level compared to my son’s.
In terms of future enhancements, there were a few times my son got stuck and since I wasn’t “playing along” the entire time I had to play through the level a few times to figure it out. Perhaps a tutorial the first time you are presented with a new type of castle or object might be helpful for younger players on the “easy” mode.
Overall, this is a fantastic app that AVOKIDDO has made, every time I test one of their apps I think they can’t possibly top it, but each time I am surprised with the new ways them come up with to play. I love that the app teaches #stem and #commoncore and encourages kids to play and learn at the same time. The app has a parental protected area with a parental gate, no banner ads, no 3rd party ads and is COPPA compliant. There are no-in app purchases. This would be a great app to use over the upcoming holidays because it’s not a “play once and done” especially for those that have a long trip!
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Hop Star : Fun Visual Math Learning Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids by Skidos Learning is an addictive platform mobile game that requires players to solve many math problems just to keep the game going. I say ‘many’ because the amount of time I spent doing math in Hop Star is at least 10 times more than the amount I spent on the game itself. I admit I’m not good at such games but I refuse to give up until I complete a game. I can’t accept defeat because the game is actually very simple but it is so hard to score points. It’s so much easier solving the math questions. I guess that is the whole purpose of Hop Star!
What we love…
The huge database of questions covering grade 1 – 5 math topics.
What we’d love to see…
Option to pre-select the players’ choice of math topics.
A fun mobile game that has players spend more time sharpening their math skills than being on the game itself.
The goal of the game is to keep your game character/hopper alive as you guide it across a series of obstacles to get out of the jungle. You tap or hold your finger anywhere on the screen and release it to get your hopper to jump over rivers and different types of dangers while collecting coins. The longer you hold, the further your hopper will jump. You will need to have good estimation, great timing and quick reflexes in order to play well.
A player needs to be alert as there are so many ways your character can get eliminated in this game. You lose a life when the hopper gets hit by trucks, eaten by alligators, struck by falling elephants or just dropped into the rivers but you can revive it with game coins. The only problem is that the number of coins required increases exponentially with each subsequent revival which means that you always run out of coins. But you can also earn coins very quickly by answering math questions.
Here, players can choose the type of math questions they want to do. From grade 1 to 5, there is a huge database of questions covering a comprehensive list of topics like numbers & counting, comparison, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, factors, prime and composite numbers, algebra and place values. Players are tested in 3 question styles – visual, mental and language. While the visual questions help players better understand the math problems and solve them easily, the constant exposure to the same type of questions give kids the confidence to tackle similar questions outside the app. I especially like the leading questions for the game based questions which guide kids to focus on the important information. The questions even feature the game characters to up the cute factor.
This fast-paced game is very addictive and I honestly couldn’t put it down. The gameplay is exciting and fun. I was surprised that my competitive older kids also enjoyed the game even though at first, they found it impossible to advance in the game. The pixel art graphics is bright and colorful. The game is easy to play and the controls are responsive. There are no penalties for wrong answers, only rewards and fun. Unlike many mobile games, there is no need to use real money to buy game coins in Hop Star. Players can play, revive characters and unlock new characters just by doing math.
What interest parents and teachers will be the progress report that lets you track individual child’s progress across different skills and time periods, allowing you to see where they need help and more practice. You will need to register your email address in order to view the reports of all the players. Do note that Hop Star requires an active internet connection for the updating of reports as well as the loading of questions from its large question database.
All kids love to play mobile games. Your kids will be most motivated to do the challenging visual and mental math problems in Hop Star just to be able to stay in their game and have fun. Trust me, they will be spending lots more time sharpening their math skills than being on the game itself!
lesson mode, visualization of numbers as they are sung, option for numerical and random order
Pop Tables helps children memorize the times tables through catchy songs and repetition.
Are you familiar with the popular educational tv series from the 70s called Schoolhouse Rock? If you are, then you know that it uses music, song, and repetition to help children and memorize information on different subjects. This is the same concept that Demografix uses in their new app Pop Tables.
Pop Tables teaches and helps children memorize the times table from 2 to 12. Each multiplication table comes with its own unique song, sung by either a male or female singer. The songs are all short and to the point, using only the numbers on the multiplication table as lyrics.
The game is really quite simple to play. As soon as app is opened, it shows a screen with twelve red balloons. Each balloon is labeled with a number from 2 to 12, which of course represents the times table. When you click on a balloon, the song for that number begins to play. As the song plays, balloons with different numbers float up the screen. The object is to identify and click on all the numbers that are multiples of the number chosen. The song plays a total of four times. The song plays with music and lyrics on the first, second, and fourth times. On the third time it only plays an instrumental version of the song. After the song plays a fourth time, the game is over. The highest score is saved and is displayed on the top right I’d the screen.
Scoring is based on how quickly the player clicks on a correct multiple. The screen is divided into top, middle, and bottom parts. Since the balloons float up, the bottom portion of the screen gives the highest score (3), the top portion gives the lowest score (1). Every incorrect multiple chosen lowers the score by the same number of points that would have been received had the correct multiple been chosen. In other words, you lose only 1 point if you click on an incorrect multiple on the top portion of the screen, but will lose 3 points if you click on an incorrect multiple on the bottom portion of the screen.
On the settings menu, you can chose to display numbers in word form. You can also choose the number of pauses allowed in the game (0-10). Pauses are 3 seconds long and give children a little time to think before the game resumes again. Finally, you can choose the speed the balloons float up on the screen.
I like this app because it is very simple and easy to use. The songs for the multiplication tables are, according to my kids, quite catchy and can definitely help with memorization. They also found it was fun trying to beat each other’s highest score.
One thing I feel is lacking in this app is visualization of the numbers as the song is being sung. It’s very hard to listen and learn the number song when different numbers are popping up the screen, often without matching the numbers being mentioned in the song. If a child is just learning their multiplication table, this can be very difficult and they will likely just end up popping the balloons on the screen for fun. It may help to have a separate lesson and game mode. The lesson mode can have the song play while the numbers being sung is shown on the screen. For example if the song says “3 and 3 is 9” then have 3 balloons with the numbers 3, 3, and 9 be displayed on the screen for the children to pop. This way they get both auditory and visual stimulation. I believe the more senses you use while learning, the better you retain things.
I would also like an option to have the balloons go up in numerical order or randomly. I would also an option to set the number of seconds a pause takes. These options will enable the game to be adjusted to children who are just beginning to learn their times table and to children who simply need to recall the times tables faster.
Overall, I think that Pop Tables can be useful for memorizing the multiplications table, specially for an auditory learner. At this time, I think it is more suited for children who are already familiar with the times tables and just need to recall the answers faster. The price of this app is high compared to other apps, and in my opinion, higher than I would be willing to pay for it. However, if you have the funds and if your child enjoys music as a learning tool, then you may want to check this out.
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