Before we go on to learn advanced math skills, it is crucial that we master the basics. This process usually involves memorizing simple calculations, such as 7+8=15 or 2×4=8. Honestly, it can be tedious and boring.
Fortunately, now there’s an app that makes math drills fun; it’s called Blackboard Madness: Math. It may sound unbelievable, but trust me when I say that this app turns math into an addictive casual game.
The game premise is simple. In each round, a math problem will be shown on the board. Immediately after, a batch of possible solutions will go flying across the screen. Your task is to swipe/slash the correct solution before it falls off the screen -- think Fruit Ninja, only with numbers and math equations instead of fruits.
Once you’ve grasped the game mechanics, all that’s left is to rely on your math skills and reflexes. The challenge, though, is the diverse problems that the app throws at you.
Some questions may ask you to solve equations as simple as 3×4=?. Others may require you slash all the numbers that fit ?>26-15, or choose the mathematical operator that completes 7?2=14.
Every once in a while, the app enters "Brain Crunches" mode, where you are presented with a series of equations that you must solve in the order they appear. For example:
You also have to watch out for bonus rounds, triggered by slashing any of the following symbols as they appear on screen: pi, P (for prime numbers), and G (for googol). In these rounds, you are challenged to perform special tasks such as slashing all the digits that make up a googol, or slashing all the prime numbers on the screen.
As with most games, the idea is to attain as high a score as possible. You gain points by answering questions correctly (and quickly) and completing bonus rounds. The game lets you get away with three mistakes before it’s game over.
At the end of the game, the app presents you with your score, the high score, and an interesting math fact. You can also view statistics of your performance over time, as well as unlock various (fun and geeky) achievements and badges.
Parents Need to Know
Blackboard Madness: Math is perfect for grade schoolers that already know how to perform basic calculations, but could use more practice to improve their speed. It is also useful for older kids and adults who want to keep their minds sharp.
I mentioned previously that the app provides you with a math fact at the end of each round. This is a nice touch. If you’re using the app with a child or student, you can ask them to conduct a quick research to verify the fact.
The app is available for free with no ads or in-app purchases. However, it contains links for sharing scores and achievements across social media.
Things I Like
Blackboard Madness: Math is an enjoyable app that makes math drills feel less of a chore and more of a challenge. While the gameplay is simple, it doesn’t feel repetitive because of the progressing difficulty and wide variety of problems. The fact that I can track my performance over time and unlock various achievements keeps me engaged in the app and motivates me to improve.
Design-wise, the app is pretty solid. I like the simple interface and the laid-back feel of the app; it makes you forget that you’re actually working your mental math skills.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with the app. But, I do feel that some areas could be improved to make the game even better. For starters, I would suggest the use of * or x, instead of a dot, to denote multiplications; I often confused the dot with the minus sign. I also feel that unlocked achievements could be marked more clearly so they are easily distinguished.
Blackboard Madness: Math is available for iPhone/iPad.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
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