Bottom Line: The quirkiest museum town ever (even quirkier than Paris!) hosts math practice that is smoothly integrated into a fun scavenger hunt game.
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External links for the App Store are behind a parental gate.
Earlier this year, we made Mystery Math Town a Top Pick app. This brand-new app from Artgig Apps is just as strong, taking users on a new journey through multiple museums.
Mystery Math Museum is a fun and engaging way for kids from 6-12 to practice math skills. The goal is to help a cute little ghost find all of his dragonflies, delivered to the wrong museums. This museum town must have an evil custodian, because the dragonflies are spread out in each museum. Thankfully, the process of finding each jar is fun and engaging enough to keep the user practicing math facts.
The app is customizable, allowing for multiple user accounts set up to each player’s ability. In my house, both my 4th grader and 1st grader have an account (along with me, of course, as a math app addict!). The 6-year-old can work on addition and subtraction (three different levels of each) while the 9-year-old can work on multiplication and division in a much better format than yet another worksheet.
The developers have included nearly everything I find essential in a high-quality app. There is a great visual tutorial available at all times from the home page, but there’s also a learn-as-you-go tutorial, perfect for users like me who need to actually try it out before instructions make sense.
There are no in-app purchases or ads in this app, and the only external links are behind a parental gate and lead more Artgig Apps in the App Store. The sound can even be turned off!
However, this is also my only suggestion for improving the app. It can only be turned off from the main homepage, and navigating away from a museum in the middle of playing will start the level over. It also mutes all sound entirely. As always, there should be a way to mute the music independent of the clever sound effects. Though constant music starts to irritate me after just a little bit, I left it on for this great app — the sound effects are simply too good to miss.
The reward system in Mystery Math Museum, like in Mystery Math Town, includes talking portraits to hang in a gallery. It’s such a funny reward, but so enticing! The portraits tell a story, too, adding an extra layer of education to the app.
Each museum features many rooms, each featuring a plethora of items relating to the museum’s theme. In order to view each gallery in the museums, a math problem must be solved.
The user can travel through both doors and windows, but only after solving the math problem. The numbers are dispersed in the rooms, and they need to be collected and saved in order to enter some rooms. This aspect of saving numbers added another layer of math to Mystery Math Museum — problem solving is especially important in the Common Core State Standards!
The app isn’t simply math, though. Each room features multiple interactive elements. In the music museum, the first room features a grand piano, ticking metronome, a lamp to turn on and off, and a talking musician portrait. Mystery Math Museum also features basement rooms with big yellow snails and realistic mice.
This game was so fun, my 9-year-old son chose to play Mystery Math Museum over some of his other favorite game apps (including Minecraft!) on a day when he didn’t have to choose something educational. He loved the mystery and search for dragonflies. My daughter had more fun playing with the interactive elements in each room, but also did quite a bit of math as she searched for more fun sounds.
Mystery Math Museum may be difficult to use in a classroom setting — all of the dragonflies need to be found in a museum level before navigating away, or the progress is lost. When the user needs to find seven little flying bugs (or more), it takes quite a bit of time, and it might be hard to complete before moving on.
However, it’s perfect for home practice, and makes math drill practice a lot more fun while letting kids work on problem solving skills at the same time. This is a must-download for parents with kids in the target range!
Heather H. admits to playing several levels of this app late into the night so as not to lose her dragonflies. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.