Bottom Line: Exhaustive treatment of second grade math subjects that includes a full year's worth of problems, completion of which will pave the way for long term success in mathematics.
(Free lite version links below.)
With a name like Splash Math – 2nd grade worksheets of Numbers, Addition, Subtraction, Time & 9 other chapters, developer StudyPad had better deliver. Splash Math apps cover 1st through 5th grades and are known as the most comprehensive math apps made. After playing though 2nd grade, I would tend to agree. They are available for iPhone or iPad and each grade level has a Lite version to try out for free.
The second grade app includes 13 chapters each of which contains subchapters. Topics range from two and three digit addition to money, measurement, data and geometry. The inclusion of addition and subtraction strategies impresses me the most. Dozens of elementary school-aged math apps provide opportunities for math practice, but few if any train students in how to solve problems strategically. Splash Math also gives a great deal of variety in the questions presented. Many reminded me of standardized tests where the teacher admonishes the class over and over to read the question before trying to answer it.
The user interface is relatively easy to understand, but detailed instructions are available through a Help menu found by pressing the i button on the top right of the home screen. This same menu contains links to give StudyPad direct feedback, share the app through email and leave a rating in the iTunes store. Setup is accessed from a wheel on the bottom right of the home screen. Players create a profile here with the option of entering their email to receive periodic progress reports. They also can save preferences for sound effects and background music. In game setup the user selects the number of questions per session and specifies the chapters on which to work as well as level of play. The easy level must be completed before moving on to medium and hard questions.
Once the settings are squared away, the player chooses practice or play mode. In practice mode the player works on specific lessons within a chapter or does a mixed review that covers an entire chapter. Points accumulate for each correct answer. In play mode quiz questions start easy and get progressively harder. If a player has trouble on a particular topic, a gentle suggestion to try practice mode pops up. Players earn points based on correct responses. Bonus points are awarded for getting all questions right, and a player that answers correctly five times in a row enters Power Up Mode and receives double points for correct answers.
Diligent second graders that earn many points for correct answers can cash them in for aquarium creatures. The aquarium is like Webkinz that were popular several years ago. During quizzes, notifications come up telling how many more points players need to unlock a new fish friend. Points also buy fish food and strangely enough can be used to drop an anvil on a crab’s head. That feature doesn’t quite add up, but it does draw a laugh.
StudyPad has really done a commendable job designing this app. It covers the second grade math curriculum very thoroughly. It will take 60+ hours of play to reach 100% proficiency in all included subjects. The developers have thought of nearly everything as the most recent update added a scratch pad pull up. This feature might be my favorite as it recognizes that some math problems require figuring out on paper and not just in your head. None of my many other math apps has this feature.
I do wish Splash Math was a universal app as it might get more use on mom’s iPhone while riding in the car than on a family iPad. Those interested in purchasing the $9.99 iPad app should be aware that while comprehensive, it does not include much instruction. There are more facts and interesting tidbits included about the sea creatures than how to’s and hints for determining number of vertices in a quadrilateral. Fortunately I have SAFK reviewer Heather to explain geometry, but not all kids can rely on their parents for explanations.
My only real criticism of Splash Math 2nd Grade is that for a math app, it is awfully wordy. I would like an option to have questions read aloud as reading ability lags math ability in some children. ESE students especially would benefit from the intense practice the app offers but may have trouble processing the language in many of the problems. I guess that’s what moms and dads are for.
As for other enhancements, StudyPad should consider offering localized versions. Math is a universal language, but the app currently is limited to English and features only U.S. currency in the money identification section. Also, it would be helpful if the emailed reports tied progress to the Common Core Standards in Math. That level of detail would make results more quantifiable for teachers.
If you would like to purchase Splash Math 2nd Grade Worksheets ($9.99 iPad/$4.99 iPhone) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using one of these link buttons:
iPad ($9.99) iPad lite (FREE) iPhone ($4.99) iPhone lite (FREE)
Thanks to John Green's sublime book, The Fault in our Stars, Jill Goodman's math skills extend to explaining why some infinities are greater than others. StudyPad is an advertiser at smartappsforkids.com.