Bottom line: I really love this app: It’s free, creative and funny. I would have rated it higher but there aren’t any practice problems and it's very short. Definitely the start of something BIG.
Logarithms Lite is a free app (totally free, with no in-apps) designed to help reinforce math skills in a interactive way. The app, developed by Mathtoons, uses a play on the word “logarithms” by posting “Captain Calculator” as a lumberjack sawing logs. It’s fun and humorous in a way that is perfect for my 10-year-old math lover—I caught him laughing hysterically more than once at this app.
The app starts with a short animation before instructing the user to choose numbers to make a valid equation. A number line (1-9) appears at the top and the user drags the numbers down in order to complete xy=z.
I made one attempt, resulting in a response of “Wow. In what universe is that possibly correct?” from the lumberjack. Thankfully, I got my second try right, choosing 23=8, and Mr. Sarcastic Lumberjack did a little happy dance and explained the rule with a mnemonic device to help remember it.
The second step involves the user making that exponential equation into a log equation. Since I have completely forgotten ever learning about logarithms, I made use of the hint button to learn that “Logarithms are used to solve for the exponent.” When I got the correct answer, the log was split up, and I was taught to remember logarithm form with the handy saying of “log bacon and eggs” (you might have to play the app to understand.)
The app sums up with a review of this little math lesson, and left me desperately wanting more (and craving some bacon and eggs!) Thankfully a quick visit to the Mathtoons Media website, whose tag line is "Math sucks! Let's fix that," reassured me that there will be more of these great math lessons coming. On their YouTube channel, there are some teaching videos as well as a sneak peek for The Factor Factory, which I hope is the next app to come.
If they can continue to produce this kind of app and expand upon it, Mathtoons Media has a chance to be a important player in apps for older students.
That said, expanding upon what's already delivered in the app is the issue: There are no practice problems, meaning it's more video lesson than app.
I also had a problem with the app crashing at the end.
On the iTunes page this app is rated a 9+ because of “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.” At the end, Captain Calculator (a.k.a. Mr. Lumberjack) is chased with a chainsaw. It was funny, not scary, but parents of younger students might want to screen it first.
For parents and teachers of students learning pre-calculus concepts, this app is a must-download. Younger students who are advanced in math might love it even more—this video makes a somewhat complex concept very accessible.
If you would like to download Logarithms Lite (FREE/iPad & iPhone) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using this link button:
Heather Hetler, mom of three kids, is proud to finally understand how to change to logarithmic form after all these years. When she’s not sawing logs, or figuring out logarithm forms, she works as a graduate speech language pathology student. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.