Bottom line: A brand new app that allows kids to practice math skills in a unique way through the use of matrices. It's a great way to practice visual perceptual skills also. Geared toward children in preschool through second grade, this app may require some initial instruction from an adult before appropriate independent play occurs, but once users get it, the learning that results from using this app could be significant.
Todo Number Matrix is a brand new app that takes the smaller matrix portion from Todo Math and makes a full app out of it, covering six different math skills. The app includes 63 different matrices within the six skills for children to play and learn from. The six different areas are numbers, logic, shapes, addition and subtraction, multiplication and fractions. These are appropriate skill targets for the intended audience of preschool through second grade students. Yes, multiplication and fractions are usually not taught until higher levels in school, but the way the matrices are set up in these two sections, it is a great way for young children to get a head start in learning about these skills.
So what's a matrix, you ask? It's not a Keanu Reeves movie. Remember using a multiplication chart, where the numbers were across the top and along the side? Wherever the two lines crossed, that's where you'd find product of multiplying those two numbers together. That is a matrix! The ones in this app are much smaller than a full multiplication chart, but now that you have a mental picture of what a matrix is, we can move forward with a better understanding of what this app offers. Each level presents a matrix with things along the top and side. These can range from numbers to objects to shapes and more. A child must use the tiles on the righthand side to drag into the matrix to complete it correctly. For example, the number 2 on the left and a blueberry on the top meet together to make a picture of 2 blueberries. A hint button can be found in the top right corner, which will flash a correct placement on the screen. Pieces that are placed in the wrong location will not stick and will return to the right side of the screen. Once a level is completed, a fun noise plays and a screen pops up to reinforce the choice and allow the player to choose home, redo or next.
Numbers works on matching numerals, numbers of objects, number words, tallies and clocks with 12 different matrices to practice. Logic uses pictures and helps a child understand relationships between objects. Shapes focuses on size, colors and number of sides. Addition and subtraction starts with easier problems and works up to more complex matrices with larger numbers. Multiplication is similar to addition and subtraction in that they all start with visual representations and gradually become more complex. Fractions explores the concepts of whole and half. It also practices breaking objects into equal parts. Each of these skill levels have a variety of matrices to work through. The levels range from preschool through second grade, so children will be challenged to continue moving forward through the levels. I believe this makes Todo Number Matrix stand above other math apps because it allows for growth through a variety of grade levels.
Children earn medals for each matrix completed. A grid is filled in each time a player returns to the home screen. Once a grid is completed, a ribbon appears and the board resets. A child can work to gain more ribbons by playing again and again. This game does not have a lot of fun reinforcing qualities, but this small gesture of medals and ribbons will help a child stay engaged with the app. A player will not feel like they are finished with the app once everything has been completed one time.
One thing that I love about all Todo apps is that the developer, Locomotive Labs, takes into account all children with varying learning differences. The strong visual components of this app can really help many learners with special needs. I believe the developer does a good job of making the app useful for a wide range of children.
My one concern with this app is that there are no tutorials. I would love to think that a parent or teacher would always use this app with a child, but I know that is not always the case. This app could be used independently by children, but for that to happen, it needs an introduction on how to complete matrices. Even an introduction in the parent area, so parents are able to explain it to their children, would be good. Due to this being a drag-and-drop app, I fear that children who are not taught first will mindlessly drag pieces into place without understanding the full concept and gaining the full benefit.
Todo Number Matrix is a unique math app that does a great job targeting a wide audience and meeting the needs of those children. Overall, I highly recommend this app for young children, especially those that are visual learners. Without an included tutorial, I do suggest that adults use the app with their child first to make sure there is a solid understanding of how to complete a matrix.
This app is a great value at $1.99, and it is even on sale for a limited time for $0.99, which is unbelievable. This app would be five stars for me if there was some type of tutorial, but if you take the time to work with your child you will have no problems using this app to get ahead in several important math skills.
Heather S. absolutely loves math and had a great time playing every single level on this app while reviewing. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.