The newest release from developer Artgig Apps is another great edutainment app. Mystery Math Town is a brand new app focusing on math skills. This unique, adventure like game is sure to be an instant winner in any household.
Mystery Math Town follows a cute little ghost as he moves through town trying to save the fireflies that have been bottled up. Move your little ghost from house to house as you search for the missing insects. Players must find the hidden jars in each house before unlocking the neighbor’s home.
Gameplay is unique in this app. On each screen players collect numbers, tally marks, and dice to represent specific digits. These numbers are stashed in a drawer at the bottom of the screen. In order to advance from room to room, players must tap doors, windows, ladders, etc. To unlock the exit, they must solve a math problem. The lock on each exit is the answer to a problem. Players must drag two numbers that equal the answer from the drawer. Numbers can be a combination of the digits, tallies, or dice collected and solve addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems.
The multi-roomed houses all have hidden jars of fireflies. Users must find the rooms with the jars in them. Players move from room to room in choose-your-own-adventure style hoping to find the bugs. Once all of the fireflies are collected from each house, the neighboring house is unlocked. Additionally, gold coin challenges show up at unlocked houses. Find the hidden coins to collect a portrait for your portrait gallery. Each of the residents of Mystery Town has a story to tell and a unique personality. Tapping the portraits in your museum bring the characters to life. Each portrait has a ton to say!
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I really liked the freedom to choose where to search for the fireflies. I think students become more engaged when game play is not linear. By going room to room, students are invested in finding those bottled up insects - and therefore solving math problems. The teacher in me loves the reverse math aspect of the game. By giving the answer, players can use any combination of numbers from the drawer to solve the problem. I also really liked the mixed numbers. Using dice, tallies, and numbers really makes students think about what they have. By limiting the numbers in the drawer, students must also make decisions about what numbers they think they'll need. I loved listening to my students find a locked door that they didn't have the numbers for. That meant back to exploring for them!
Overall, this app is really well done. The town and portraits are cute and funny. The random stories, songs, and comments made the portrait gallery a fun place to visit. The ability to customize the level of math calculation made this a valuable tool for parents and teachers to help students focus on what each child needs. The choose-your-own-adventure style play makes this a favorite with my students, and I can think of no better way to recommend this one!
iPad/iPad Mini iPhone/iPod
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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Remember, many kids will see their iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone or iPod Touch as a gaming device, but with your help they can get much more out of it. Help them turn their iDevice into a fun learning center!