Part 3 from Carstens Studio Inc., focuses on the 2012 award winning release of Math Doodles. Math Doodles is a comprehensive math playground. It was recommended as a top app in TWA’s blog “5 Apps to STOP Summer Slide” here. Included games are Sums Stacker, Connect Sums, the Unknown Square, Splat go round (my personal favorite), and a black and white version of Pattern Twist. There are enough games and variations for generalization to keep kids busy for months. Carsten teaches kids how to think by having kids experiment on their own. I have had kids as young as 4 play with success and begin to transpose and sort numbers into columns, setting them up to learn to cognitively shift parts to make a whole. The graphics and playfulness of the design make this app a winner, as you hardly realize the direct impact it has on practical life skills such as reasoning and strategizing the outcomes of actions in the future.
Math Goals for the games include:
• Numbers and operations
• Number Sense
• Time and Clocks
• Problem Solving
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Math Enjoyment
In Sums Stacker, gameplay centers on matching sums to 3 target numbers by swapping out icons. Choose from 25 different icons – from dice, to money, to global symbols of numeracy. Often you need to stack atop numbers to get to the one you want, and this was a little tricky for kids to learn, but once they could refocus on the goal, the strategy for gameplay was evident. Modes include: Solve, Play ad infinitum, or in Race modes that grade difficulty levels in achieving the goal.
Connect Sums adds the skills of visually scanning amongst visual clutter to achieve the goal of a given sum by adding number icons from a 4×4 grid. Here kids learn to filter and try out possibilities. They learn to quickly add 2-3 numbers at a time to come up with the most efficient answer and clear the board.
Unknown Square is a Sudoku variation, where the addition/subtraction. Sums need to add up vertically, horizontally, and diagonally in a 3×3 grid. Kids must add or subtract as well as visually staying on the targeted trajectory. Crazy, no? It is a great game to show off mastery of addition and subtraction, and children everywhere, will soon be fighting off their parents for the puzzlers in the Sunday sections of the papers to get their fix for math.
Splat Go Round is a personal favorite. Why who can resist programming a fly swatter to rotate around a circle and squash those pesky insects? Choices range from time to percents and fractions to even radians! Sound effects are spot on, and no one has been able to resist this game yet. Fun for younger kids that are just learning about time, and challenging enough for older kids learning about time, distance and loops with a variable schedule of reference points in which to problem solve.
Pattern Twist is a spatial orientation game where sections of the game board are rotated to match a model. I do like the early sketch quality to it, as it is kind of like viewing how animations are created. The black and white keeps contrast high and allows kids to zero in on the rotation of the blocks.
In Sum, Math Doodles is a timeless app. It is well executed with a wide variety of skill sets that span across the educational spectrum. And it is not just for kids, This is a Top Pick and is Highly Recommended.