Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have always been areas where boys outnumber girls, but lately there has been an increase in efforts to attract more girls to these fields. The idea is that if we can show young girls that science and technology are fascinating subjects, they will be more eager to get into the fields. Today, I want to introduce you to the SMART Adventure Mission Math 2: Peril at the Pyramids, an adventure game that encourages kids to use their math skills to solve puzzles. It is the second in a series of math apps designed for girls.
Peril at the Pyramids
The SMART Adventures Mission Math series follow the adventures of newly-promoted Agent Delta, a member of the Science Math and Radical Technology Agency (SMART). You play as her assistant, Junior Agent Star, and use your math skills to help her solve puzzles around the globe. Mission Math 2: Peril at the Pyramids takes you to Egypt, where the evil organization TOAD has wreaked havoc at an archaeological dig site.
The game begins with an introduction to the plot, after which you can design an avatar to use during the game. You can customize your avatar with your preferred hairstyle, eye color, skin tone, and clothes. Once you have completed your avatar, you can roam the dig site to play mini games.
The game has seven mini games focused on different skills, and each mini game has three levels of difficulty that present you with different challenges. The topics covered are equal to most students would learn by the end of fifth grade, including basic arithmetic, order of operations, prime and composite numbers, geometry, statistics, probability, and spatial rotation. You can start with any game you like, but remember: you must complete all the games to conclude the adventure.
For each game round, you must answer a number of multiple-choice questions correctly in order to pass and move on to a higher level. There is no time limit, so you can take all the time you need. There is no competitive scoring system either, but as an incentive the story only moves forward if you play.
Parents Need to Know
The game is recommended for ages 10 and up. It took me about 2 hours to finish it in one sitting, but I imagine kids within the targeted age range would take a little longer. As a nice touch, all the mini games will still be accessible after the story has been completed. You can create up to three user profiles on the same device.
If you are new to the SMART Adventures series, I would suggest also picking up the first episode, Mission Math 1: Sabotage at the Space Station. This way, you will be more familiar with the characters and the background story. Mission Math 1 is recommended for ages 9 and up, and covers math concepts like basic arithmetic, fractions, decimals, bar graphs, place value, volume and mass, factors, multiples, angles, and polygons.
SMART Adventures Mission Math 2: Peril at the Pyramids has no ads, no in-app purchases, and no media links. It doesn’t require Internet connection to play. English is the only supported language at the time of the review, with subtitles available throughout the gameplay. The app is available for iPad only.
Things I Like
The SMART Adventures series is unique in that each app is a full-fledged adventure game, complete with cinematic animations and professionally recorded voiceovers. The characters in the game address the players in second person, creating an immersive experience. There is also a lot of humor (and bad puns) to keep you entertained throughout the games.
Additionally, the app presents strong role models for girls. The founding member and leader of SMART, for example, is a woman. Two other female Junior Agents, Smudge and Sparks, are depicted as skillful team members in charge of engineering and chemistry, respectively. This positive portrayal of women in STEM hopefully will empower young girls to get into in these fields.
That said, I don’t see why boys can’t enjoy the app. The mini games are gender-neutral, and if anything, the app would be great for honing their math skills.
A downside to the app is it doesn’t explain the correct answer if you answered incorrectly, so parents or teachers should be present to help the players evaluate their mistakes. I think a hint system would be beneficial, as does a dashboard where parents or teachers can track each player’s progress.
Specially-designed game for girls tries to foster math skills through story-based puzzles. Kids can learn and practice a number of topics including order of operations, prime and composite numbers, geometry, statistics, and probability. Three levels of difficulty present kids with continuous challenges. Recommended as a supplement to your child’s math lessons at school.
SMART Adventures Mission Math 2: Peril at the Pyramids is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.