400x40000bb-4Penguin Addition by Danielle Fujii is an adorable early learning math app. The focus covers number sense to early math facts. There are some things you just have to sit down and practice until the information is automatic. Basic math facts are one of them. And why? Approximating what items cost; do I have enough for a popsicle, or if I have 10 spelling words to go through; what does that mean in terms of how long it may take me so I can go out to play? These are all measures of objects and their relationships, of time, and efficiency. This is not only applicable in making it through school, but also in practical life out in the world at large. Game play is simple with a delightfully non-cluttered interface. I love the fact that it is crisp and cheerful, so that you can stick to integrating the material. And the goal of this app is learning what 4 is and that 2+3=5. When you get to a level, kids know what to do, or can easily figure it out. This reinforces self reliance and competency.

IMG_2419 2On opening, sign in to play and then go at it! There are 5 levels, each in a sequence that needs to be unlocked after successfully completing the previous level. The levels vary in duration and demands, and on successful completion, one earns a merit badge that the little penguin earns as swag for his/her sash. The five learning areas include:

Counting to 10 – In counting to 10, kids are shown a number on a scale. They then place the same number of penguins on the other scale to balance it. Using a 1:1 correspondence, kids not only see the parts to a whole, but also feel the numbers. Here the counting badge is earned as kids correctly balance the numbers 0-10.

Addition Sums to 10 – By correctly answering 15 number problems, kids complete the level. There is an “energy bar” on the bottom of the screen to show progress, and so with it kids begin to learn about time and efficiency. I also love how each number has a corresponding counter dot to add to referencing the sum and aid in retention.

IMG_2420Additions Sums to 20 – Kids will need to answer 55 problems to unlock the next level. I like that the developer has used different markings to progress. It helps keep kids alert and awake which ups the investment in task completion.

Ice Breaker – Identifying all equations to a target number before the iceberg floats away, gets you the fourth badge. Children learn to “read” full equations as a sentence and reverse them also.

Speed Catch – is a timed race against the clock. It is the same as Ice Breaker but with the additional element of time.

All the games are short for use as a quick warm up. The graphics are bright and cheerful, and the music can be turned off in the settings. The music is looped and can be a bit trying, but some kids need it to block other extraneous input to concentrate. Under the “i”, on the levels page are summaries of data on each student’s performance on a particular level, making this IMG_2421feature a nice reference for data collection.
In summary, this is a great little game for warm ups before formal instruction, tapping into what usually is a dreary rote memorization task for most kids, and earning those merit badges is motivating to continue. Would love it if there were available stickers to download and make to give out to kids. A TWA Pick!

Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of Sepa, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.

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