I appreciate Internet Design Zone’s no frills approach in Division For Kids. Unless you’re dividing up a bachelor uncle’s multi-million dollar estate between his ne’er do well nieces and nephews, long division is a thankless task. Dressing it up with monsters, aliens and missions to save the planet is like putting lipstick on a pig. So kudos to Internet Design Zone for some old school blackboard division.
With calculators in watches and cell phones, long division is a dying art and may soon go the way of cursive. Until then, however, it remains the bane of 4th through 6th graders. I put the app through its paces with my in-house expert, Kyle who is 10 days away from completing 4th grade. His experience and comments are incorporated throughout this review.
Division for Kids is a free download for levels 1-2 with an in-app purchase to unlock an additional 8 levels of difficulty for $1.99. If you like the setup of the first levels then the in-app is worth buying. The incremental difference in difficulty between levels is quite small, but problems per level are unlimited. The app offers two modes of play—practice and test. Levels can be accessed in any order in practice but each successive level must be cleared to advance in test mode.
Test mode is actually much easier than practice. Each test has 10 multiple choice division problems taken from times tables up to 20. For each correct response, a chalk outline stick figure man does a little dance. Wrong answers bring a storm cloud that pours rain on the stick man as he scratches his head. The problem, level and score out of 100 are tracked across the top of the screen.
Practice mode begins with choosing a level. Level 3, as an example, started with the question, “How many times does 5 go into 37?” The dividend (37) and divisor (5) are placed in the division bracket with an empty white box on top for the quotient. A keypad on the right side of the screen lets the student key in an answer. The student is then prompted to multiply his answer by the divisor and key that in below the dividend. The app takes the child through each step with subtracting and bringing down the next digit. At any point in the process, the student can get help by pushing the solution button.
My son really liked how the app walked him through the problem. His only complaint was that he could not erase an answer if he changed his mind or miskeyed his response. Wrong answers cause a red x to be displayed, but there is no opportunity to fix an answer before the x appears. Overall, I thought the app did a great job making long division understandable. Regular time in practice mode would definitely make perfect.
I have my own suggestions for improving the app: There should be some estimation strategies included that show students how rounding numbers to a multiple of five or ten can help them figure out the answer when they do not have, for example, the 17 table memorized. I was surprised that upper levels of difficulty stopped with leaving a remainder and did not go into adding decimals. Since the app store description recommended the app for grades 2-6, I expected to see the higher levels include solving with decimals or at the very least expressing the remainder as a fraction. I would describe the app as having six distinct levels of difficulty for grades 3-5 which is still quite good considering problems per level are unlimited.
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To get in the proper mindset, this review was written by Jill Goodman in longhand in a Jonas Brothers spiral notebook. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.