Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.
What we’d love to see…
An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.
A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.
Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!
What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.
What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.
Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.
I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.
The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.
Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.
Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.
Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.
Fun easy to use leveled math app that encouraged my son to practice his math skills
What we’d love to see…
ability to test out of content your child may already be familiar with, ability to turn off the sound affects within the app
I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills.
Zap Zap Math – K6 Math Games by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd. is a universal app for iOS that focuses on #commoncore math skills. The free app with gated in-app purchases (IAP) includes content for children from kindergarten through sixth grade to learn, master and be quizzed on math materials using games. The app itself contains over 150 games and over 180 math subtopics and is common core aligned to the Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics. For purposes of the review, I was given a full user ID and tested using second grade material since that is the grade my older son is in. The premium subscription is $9.99 USD and is charged on an annual basis. For those that purchase the full subscription there is also a web-based dashboard so you can check on your child’s progress.
Skills practiced within the app include: Addition, Subtraction, Fractions, Ratios, Multiplication, Geometry, Coordinates, Measurements, Angles, Time. Each “year” within the app is a full school year’s worth of content which is fantastic for home practice during homework time, for homeschooling families or simply to prevent the “summer slide”.
Within the app, there are four different skill areas to use: training, accuracy, speed, mission. There is no spoken language contained within the app, but there are written directions as well as video tutorials to show you what to do for each of the mini games. After completing problems correctly, the words “good job” or stars are flashed on the screen. After taking the quiz, you are shown the results of your work as well as given a time bonus (if completed faster than allowed) to give you a total score.
Training – this is the area where your child learns the skill and gets a tutorial about how to do it.
Accuracy – your child uses the skill to answer questions faster and more accurately
Speed Building – the skill itself is learned and now the focus is on completing the task in a faster manner
Mission – this brings all the pieces together when you rocket into outer space with a fun mini game
One of the things we liked was that there was a tutorial for each type of game. This made sure we understood how to play it because it included step by step directions and a sample problem for you to complete. My son in particular enjoyed the hive game as he had to connect different equations together to complete the problem. At the end of each mission, you see your accuracy and score as well as a number of “Z” coins which are in app currency to purchase items. We also liked the wide variety of games and frankly the huge amount of free content available to users without purchasing a subscription. This app really allowed you to “try before you buy”.
In terms of enhancements, it would be nice if there were a way to “test” out of content. My son was familiar in some cases with the content and kept telling me how “boring” it was to have to relearn a skill that he already knew. I also would like to be able to turn off the background sound within the app, my son found the ticking and various noises distracting so we ended up muting our device, but it would be nice if there was an easier way to do it. I’d also like a collaboration space, my son’s math curriculum is very visually based and several times he actually wanted to use the number line or draw out the math problem. You can see the number line in the training mode, but you can’t manipulate it which was something he requested. I would also like to see a parent gated area that contains the rating as well as a way to see the dashboard from my device in a future release.
Above is a screenshot of a sample dashboard that shows what skills each student is practicing along with accuracy, amount of time played, number of attempts. You can also click through to get a more detailed report.
I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills. This is a great app to try and see if it works for your family, the $9.99 in app purchase/annually seems affordable for the amount of content contained within the app. There are external links, however, they are parental gated.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.
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!
The use of everyday objects to help students connect algebra with real life scenarios which instantly helps them solve the problems.
What we’d love to see…
The word problems expressed in mathematical format and explicit description of the problem-solving process.
This app helps students see the relevance in learning algebra and offers an easy to understand approach to solving algebra problems.
Is your child having a hard time understanding what algebra is? Or is he/she struggling with the basic concepts of solving algebraic equations? Do you yourself know how to teach basic algebra so that your children can have a head start in school?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, then let me introduce to you Monkey Party Learn Algebra by Language Pilgrim which does a good job in using simple representations to explain the basic algebra concepts and demonstrate the strageties to solving single variable linear equations. By turning the equations into word problems, students understand the concepts better and find the relevance in learning algebra at the same time.
Instead of starting off with abstract mathematical symbols, students are introduced to objects that represent the various parts of an algebra problem in a Monkey Party game – two balancing leaves act as both sides of the equation, the weight of different types of fruits represents the variables, a crate represent an unknown number of a fruit, balloons are used to represent negative numbers and barrels of water represent positive numbers. Clearing the water barrels symbolizes the combination of positive numbers while helicopters are used to demonstrate the process of subtracting an equal number from both sides of the equation.
In the games, students learn the strategies to solve problems while keeping the weight on the two leaves balanced at all times and earn fruits as they complete each game level. Each game level can be repeated but each time the elements are different. A dynamic equation is displayed at the bottom of the leaves to reflect the changes made by Cappy the Monkey or the students themselves. This helps students connect what they see on the balancing leaves to the abstract mathematical symbols.
Students will learn how to collect like terms (4xb+b+b = 6b), add or subtract numbers (without changing the balance) in order to simplify the equations so that only the unknown is on one side of the equation. To solve the equation, they will need to utilize all the 4 mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) on real numbers (including negative numbers).
Lessons are taught in small incremental steps through a series of progressive game levels with new lessons building upon the skills learnt from previous lessons. Equations get increasingly more complicated and students are guided with instructions, leading questions and reiterations to demonstrate and emphasize the problem-solving strategies. The gameplay itself gets more exciting as more items are added on the leaves and they have to be balanced quickly.
Besides the games cum lessons, there are also many opportunities for practicing the skills as well as additional games where students can use the fruits they had collected to make desserts for a Monkey Party. These activities work on fractions and graphs.
This is a rare app teaching algebra basics in an easy to understand approach and I would like to see it improved further with a few modifications. Firstly, each word problem should be accompanied by the corresponding mathematical expression and that the problem-solving process should be explicitly described for easy reference. Additionally, different crates of the same type of fruit should be labelled differently so that students won’t assume that they contain the same number of fruits. Lastly, a more effective placement of the dynamic equations such as just above the leaves instead of at the bottom.
I like how Monkey Part Learn Algebra enables students make real world connections to algebra which instantly helps them solve the questions. Algebra is no longer a difficult math concept but just a puzzle game where students use their mathematical skills to find an unknown value. The problem-solving process becomes meaningful for students rather than a abstract concept. Based on this strength alone, this app is a winner.
If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
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