Tasty Math – Multiplying Acorns

30 Jul

Multiplying Acorns is the third app in Operatio’s Tasty Math App series, the others in the series being Adding Apples and Subtracting Sardines.  It is aimed at young children learning the concept of multiplication, but the characters would be attractive to older students with special needs.  This app is a little different to others in the series, in that it has several learning activities, and some mini-games that are unlocked as rewards for progress.

As with other Apps in the series,  three user profiles are available and these are represented by three squirrels that greet you as you launch the App.  You can assign a name to each squirrel.  Tap on one of the squirrels to start the game.  The screen resembles a large calculator, and a squirrel is there to prompt children to start multiplying.

Activities

Basic Multiplication – Children select two numbers to multiply.  When they select the first number, the corresponding number of squirrels appear.  When the second number is selected, each squirrel is given that many acorns.  3 x 6 would be displayed as 3 squirrels, each with 6 acorns.  The squirrels then toss the acorns into the air and disappear as the acorns roll around and bump each other.  Children can then count the acorns by tapping each.  The acorns crack as they are tapped, revealing the nut inside.  The answer is selected from a choice of three, and correct answers result in cheers and coins tumbling on to the screen.

 Quiz A – Children are asked to find two numbers to multiply that will produce a specific answer.  The question appears such as ? x ? = 12.  Children then select the numbers to multiply.  Apart from having to arrive at a specific answer, the format is identical to the basic multiplication activity.  Interestingly, if children select incorrect numbers to multiply, for instance 3 x 6, they still get a reward if they answer correctly, and their answer will count towards the awards given at 25, 50 and 100 correct answers.  It just won’t count towards their quiz records.

Quiz B – Children answer multiplication questions such as 3 x 6 = 9.  The squirrels and acorns automatically appear, and children don’t get the option to count the acorns.  They can still drag them around the screen to count, but this won’t be of much use for some of the larger multiplication values.  This activity is a good one for those children moving on to memorising their basic facts.

Race – Children answer as many questions as possible in 60 seconds.  (Time pauses as reward coins are collected).

Mini Games  – These arcade-style games are unlocked as children reach target numbers of problems solved.  You have to pay for each game with acorns you have accumulated in the Multiplication activities.  If you run low on acorns, simply practice your multiplication to earn more.  The three activities resemble old-fashioned sideshow games, such as knock ’ems.

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Supportive Features

  • There are several games that look at multiplication in different ways, reinforcing the concept and providing variety.
  • Rewards are given at regular intervals, helping to keep children motivated.  Trophies are won and mini-games are unlocked after target numbers of correct answers have been reached.  Mini-games motivate children to keep earning acorns by practicing multiplication.
  • There are three profiles available, which should be enough for most families.  We have a few more children than the average family, so we’ve had to be a bit creative with sorting out who gets which profile.
  • You can restrict numbers, for example only having numbers 1 through 5.  In this case, the highest numbers multiplied would be 5 x 5.
  • Multiplication is represented in a way that helps children to understand the concept.
  • You can tweak this App in lots of ways to make it easier or more challenging for children, depending on their needs.
  • A progress chart tracks attempts for each basic fact.  You can use the chart to identify which facts have been attempted, and any areas of success or struggle.  You can select an option to practice unsolved problems from the progress chart.  This takes you to Quiz B.
  • Although aimed at younger children, the squirrel characters would appeal to older children, for example those in middle to upper primary who are still mastering the basics of multiplication.
  • No in-app purchases, advertising or social network links.

Concerns

  • It would be more helpful if the nuts could stay in an array format, particularly with larger numbers.  This would give an opportunity to look at the numbers as groups, and could also help children to count in different ways, for example in 2s, 3s or 5s. Even to have this as an option would be good.
  • You can’t focus on particular multiplication tables.  Restricting numbers is fine, but it would be more useful to be able to restrict the multiplying number, or even to nominate an individual table to practice.

Verdict

Although there are a few features I’d like added, overall this is a good game.  If you restrict the numbers to 3 or 4, it provides a good way to explore the concept of multiplication.   Multiplying Acorns could be a useful App to use when working on homework questions.  The two quizzes help children to think about multiplication in different ways, and the race provides a fun way of practicing their multiplication facts, even though they cannot focus on particular tables.  The mini-games will keep the kids coming back to practice their multiplication. I’m using it with my younger children to introduce the concept of multiplication and to practice very simple multiplication to three.  My older children, who understand multiplication, use it for drill and practice activities to help with speed and recall of their basic multiplication facts.

Publisher: Operatio
Price: $1.99
iPad only
Multiplying Acorns HD - Tasty Math Facts - Operatio

Also available for Mac OS at the same price.
Multiplying Acorns - Tasty Math Facts - Operatio

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2 Responses to “Tasty Math – Multiplying Acorns”

  1. Wendy 02/08/2012 at 9:12 am #

    Hi Sarah, I got your website from your Mum and she said that you may be able to help. I work for a respite centre and I have a client who is interested in history, politics and astrology however cannot read. Do you know of any programs or websites that have an audio commentary that he may be able to look at. Thanking you for your help. Wendy

    • Sarah DeBellis 02/08/2012 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Wendy, I’ll look into it a bit deeper, but for the moment I’d refer you to the ABC website. They podcast just about all of their radio shows, and have video podcasts of some, as well as past episodes on iView. They have really high standards and I find the shows really interesting. I’d start with their podcasts, that you can download directly from http://www.abc.net.au/services/podcasting/?WT.svl=services, or you can also subscribe through iTunes. They organise them into subject areas. They have some video podcasts, but most of their shows are only available through iView, and they have an app on the iTunes Appstore that is free and works with both iPhone and iPad. iView is also available on the computer. I’ll get into this a bit more and hopefully will have some other links to send you. I have to admit though, I don’t think my life would be the same without these podcasts. I really should do a top-ten podcast post. Or top 20. Hang on a tic, there is another place you can go, and that is iTunes U, which has lectures. If your client is into history, perhaps she’d be interested in Greek and Roman Mythology? One of my friends, Dr Joseph Hughes, runs a uni course and has all his lectures online, and they are basically going through the myths and explaining them. The link is http://itunes.apple.com/au/itunes-u/llt-121-classical-mythology/id340970565
      You could also browse iTunes U and the podcast sections of iTunes. iTunes U also has sections for K-12. Hope that helps get you started.
      Sarah

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