Beyond Cats! Maths Practice for Kindergarten by maypopdesigns is an app developed to address the main aspects of the Common Core Standards. It does cover the majority of them, leaving out some of the higher order thinking skills. Each skill is presented in the same way. After a picture example/directions are shown, children tap on one of 9 pieces in an array that matches or answers the question. The entire app is done with pictures. There is a help overlay with written direction on how to use the app and a speaker button at the bottom of each directions image that narrates what the students should do.
Activities address skills such as counting, number recognition, sequencing, colors, shapes, symmetry, position, and others. Each game is played with the same 9 tile array and the example/directions can be viewed off to the side if additional help is needed. If children get the answer wrong, the card is still collected, removing the answer (and making it so that when the question that goes with that answer is shown, children do not have that answer as a choice). Feedback is given after all 9 pieces are collected. Children must go back and redo the questions they missed before moving on.
Each activity awards children the same number of puzzle pieces that they answer correctly. These squares cover a hidden picture in the gallery. Users tap the pieces to reveal the picture. In the Parents section, progress reports are available on each of 4 users. Parents can see if children are doing great, doing ok, need some help, or the topic is too hard. Parents can also set the speed to auto or turbo, and reset specific skills or the whole user to generate new results. The Common Core aligned standards are also available here.
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As the parent of a preschooler, Kindergarten skills are very much in my wheelhouse and I was excited to try this out. I liked the range of different skills to practice – from colors to shapes to number identification. I also liked that the app was easy to use. The reports section gives a nice quick visual on your child’s progress with each skill. I also really liked that the app went back and had you correct the wrong answers. There was one major flaw for me though. If you select the wrong answer, the card is taken away. However, that means when the question that requires that answer comes up, children are forced to pick a wrong answer even if they know it, because the correct answer is no longer there. This led to my son getting 3-4 wrong, because if he couldn’t find the right answer, he’d just tap anything and then that answer disappears…do you see the pattern? I’d also like to see more of the complex thinking type questions. The page about the number line is a good example of extending the skill from simple number matching to finding it on a number line.
Overall, Beyond Cats! Maths Practice for Kindergarten is a simple matching type math game that covers most of the Kindergarten standards. I’d love to see the developers find a way to not take away wrong answers and cause a cycle of choosing incorrectly even if the child knows the answer. That aspect really frustrated both my son and me.
Beyond Cats! Maths Practice for Kindergarten is availabe for downaldo via the iTunes App Store - iOS Universal
At the time of this review, this app had no in-app purchases, ads, and external links were protected with a parent gate.
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self-proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.