Marble Math, Marble Math Jr., and Marble Math Lite: Multiplication all utilize the same unique game-play, so Fun Educational Apps is doing a global review of these apps. Each app contains a maze that players have to navigate by either rolling the marble (tilting the iPad) or dragging the marble through the maze, avoiding the hazards and collecting the bonuses and the correct answers for the problem listed at the top. Students love the tilting and turning necessary to get the marble around the obstacles. Talk about a truly engaging game!
Each app also has many customizable features that parents and teachers will enjoy. To begin with, add players to the menu screen and customize the avatars as desired. In the tools menu, adults can select or deselect specific skills for students to practice at each of three levels. In the settings menu, choose your marble (new ones are earned by completing maze levels), choose to either roll or drag the marble, and toggle the music and the bonus/obstacles.
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Marble Math is designed for users aged nine and up. Skills to practice include: each of the four operations, adding and sequencing fractions, roman numerals, factors, decimals, negative numbers, counting money, comparing numbers, and simplifying equations. These are all Common Core Standards essential to fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.
Marble Math Jr. is developed for students aged five to eight and perfect for students in Kindergarten through third grade. Each of the skills covered in this game also comes directly from the Common Core Standards (my teacher heart is happy!). Essential skills in this game include: shape recognition, sequencing numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, identifying basic fractions, counting money, telling time, and addition equations.
Marble Math Lite: Multiplication uses the same unique maze feature to have students practice multiplication facts. Adults can customize the experience by selecting which fact tables are practiced at one time.
Overall, these apps are great, not just because of the sheer depth of the skills covered, but because of the variety of questions covered as well. Students are not just asked to solve a single problem and roll the marble to a single answer. Some problems involve rolling the marble to collect items or numbers in sequential order, other problems ask for a specific answer to be found. From a student's point of view, the games are simply fun. The obstacles like ghosts that make the marble invisible, goo which makes the marble sticky, and banana peels which send the marble flying are all challenging obstacles to avoid. Bonuses likes keys, magic wands, and answer help are all things that players are eager to get. Additionally, kids are super engaged by the rolling and tilting needed to navigate the maze. (Though for those of us challenged by this, dragging the marble works just as well!)
Honestly, I think the best review that I can give this app is that it is not just a top pick for me. It is a top pick of classrooms throughout my school. Kids choose this app frequently if given time to free-explore with the iPods or iPads. They love earning new marbles, they love navigating the maze, and teachers love that they are doing math as they explore.
All Marble Math apps are available for download via the iTunes App Store - Universal App
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, a special education teacher, and a technology coach. She is a self proclaimed nerd with a passion for incorporating technology into education and you read her findings at The iLesson Lady.
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