Math is one of those subjects that you have to practice regularly to master. Based on my experience with my six-year-old, kids can only sustain a limited amount of practice in a single seating. That’s why I think a math drill app like Astro Nora is great. Instead of churning out unlimited questions until you burn out, the app releases them in small, customizable batches — allowing you to take periodical breaks and review your performance.
Meet Astro Nora
The menu in Astro Nora is pretty straightforward. Simply select a mode of operation that you want to practice — either addition or subtraction, or both — and a set of five questions will be generated for you.
Once you have set up the questions, you will help the main character, Astro Nora, to collect parts for her rocket ship. You’ll walk across the surface of a distant planet, occasionally tapping to jump and collect coins, while trying to select the correct option among the three shown by the monsters you encounter.
If you choose an incorrect option, the app will make note of it. But, this doesn’t stop your journey. You can choose a different option to clear the obstacle and collect the much-needed rocket part. Later on, when you have completed the set of five questions, the app will show you the questions that you got wrong.
As a reward, you can spend the coins that you collected to make the space monster burp. This silly activity makes the practice more fun.
Parents Need to Know
Because each exercise set consists of only five questions, your kids should be able to complete it in a short period if you set up the difficulty level accordingly. This allows you to quickly measure how well your kids can do mental calculations. The app also lets you know which questions your child answered incorrectly, so you can review them with him afterwards.
You can use Astro Nora with kids of different age groups. For example, the easy level is appropriate for kids ages 4-5 who are starting to learn about addition and subtraction. The tricky level offers a good practice ground for kids ages 5-6 as they are ready to mix their basic calculator skills with a more difficult concept, i.e. calculating the missing operand in a standard operation. The hard and super hard levels allow kids to practice with operands up to 999 and are more appropriate for kids ages 6-7 and 7-8, respectively.
Astro Nora works great without an Internet connection. It doesn’t have any third-party ads, in-app purchases, or links to social networks.
Things I Like
Most other mental calculation math games would keep their approach straightforward: show a problem and wait until your child provides the correct answer. On the other hand, Astro Nora offers simple tools, such as number line and number grid, that your child can use to help them with their mental calculation. For the easy and tricky levels, your child can use the number line to help them solve problems that involve operands with smaller values, i.e. up to 20. And for the hard levels, your child can use a number grid to help solve problems involving numbers up to 100.
You can pull up these helper tools by tapping on the small yellow bar shown on the bottom of the screen. A number line would add a new line underneath the screen that you can use to count forward or backward to solve the problem at hand. A number grid, on the other hand, would take up almost the entire screen, allowing you to quickly calculate and solve the problem.
Astro Nora offers a small dose of math exercises that kids ages 4-7 need to build their mental calculation skills. You can set up different exercise modes with different difficulty levels, but each exercise set would be short enough to be completed in five minutes. With the ability to record where your kids had answered incorrectly, you can also use the app as a quick measurement of their calculation skills anytime you feel the need to.
Get Astro Nora on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.