I am singularly unqualified to review Middle School Math Pro 7th Grade by Monkey in the Middle Apps because I actually skipped that grade. Fortunately I was able to call on an expert who has a Masters in Education and taught 7th grade math in an inner city school for 15 years. She happens to be my Mom.
Middle School Math Pro 7th Grade is a universal app that has 301 questions covering ten different topics from the 7th grade math curriculum. Players can pick any of the topics on which to work and each topic has three levels. Subjects included are fractions, percentages, decimals, scientific notation and multiples and factors.
The app has quite a different look from other educational games. Full screen color photos from national parks and other scenic spots form the background for the home screen and each quiz. When a topic is selected, a new picture appears with a series of ladders superimposed on it. The player tilts the screen to move a monkey down the ladders.
Quiz questions periodically pop up and stop the monkey’s progress. The question pop up is nano screen sized even on an iPad. If the correct answer is chosen from among four choices, the monkey can continue down the ladders. If players guess wrong, the correct answer is highlighted, and the monkey is moved back up a bit. Each quiz is timed.
The monkey part is cute, but unlikely to interest even a casual 7th-grade gamer, who is probably used to driving a tank in WWII Germany by that age (or at least maneuvering a Skylander), for very long. The game is also the same every time, albeit with a different background.
Although there is a question icon for help on the quiz screen, users should have some exposure to the skills before attempting play. The help screen contains a brief overview with examples but the app contains no true instruction. A link to a Khan Academy video is also included for additional explanation if necessary. The link is a nice touch but requires wi-fi or 3G to access.
Math Pro 7 also features Game Center connectivity for those 7th graders wishing to share their fastest times or to try to beat all of the app's preset achievements. The app can also generate an email with scores and specific info on right and wrong answers.
Math Pro was actually more fun than I expected once I started playing. I wouldn’t normally encourage racing the clock in higher math, but got excited when I completed a quiz in 28 seconds. On one of the fractions levels, I found that once I identified the common denominator, I could pick the answer without solving the problem. This shortcut was especially handy in level three when a single problem required converting a whole number to a fraction, getting a common denominator, adding the fractions then reducing the result. This cheat sort of defeats the purpose.
Noticeably absent from the list of covered topics, according to my expert, is ratio and proportions. For many 7th grade boys, proportions start and end with 36-24-36, but for those learning math, these are concepts used to solve measurements and distances equations. The answer is found by cross multiplying and dividing. Also missing from the line-up are any algebraic equations or word problems that need to be expressed as equations in order to be solved. Problems of this sort may not be as compatible with the edutainment nature of the app, but they do comprise a big part of 7th grade math according to my source.
Of course, asking for a complete 7th grade math curriculum for 99 cents is a bit much, but these are important things to note for a purchasing parent or teacher.
There are issues, but Middle School Math Pro 7th Grade merits a look as it has little or no competition for its level of math in the app store.
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This review was completed by Jill Goodman. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.