Bottom Line: If your students are fluent with math facts and looking for another challenge, Math Kingdom for Kids might be a perfect fit! With 30 levels of speed-timed problem solving, develop faster skills with applying math facts. Start with 2-digit addition and work up to problems with mixed operations- for just $.99 with no ads. It does move very quickly, and there are some missing features that could move it up a star or two. Overall, it's a decent app for math facts and problem solving, and good for all ages!
Get this app for iPad and iPhone for just $.99!
Or try out the free version! (with In-App Purchase)
The full version has no ads, no in-app purchases, and no external links!
Be prepared to have your thinking cap on for this app- to start using it, the parent or adult user needs to enter the answer to a more complex math problem (mine was the cube root of 512!) After that bit of math to get started, the app is simple and easy to use, even if some of the math problems are complicated.
The home screen has just two choices- Play and Sound. This simplicity is nice, and the easy access to the mute button made me happy. There is very nice music playing in the background, but it adds nothing to the actual game play. The ability to mute easily is absolutely necessary for any use in schools, and developer Duo-Picses made sure to include it. Thankfully, the music can also be easily muted from within the actual game play, too.
Tapping play brings the user to the level selection screen. There are a total of 30 levels, but there is no indication on this screen what is involved in each level. I would love to see small symbols on or above each number to quickly identify the desired skill set needed in each one. In addition, there is never a visual change to the numbers when a level is completed. I found this difficult, as I often forgot what level I had just played as I moved on to a new level.
Select the desired level and start playing! The game play screen consists of 48 number tiles, and a problem to solve at the bottom. The answer and operation are always filled in, and it is the user's job to tap the numbers (in the order they should appear) to accurately complete each equation. The goal is to complete as many problems as possible before the time bar runs out.
The levels progress somewhat through level of difficulty. The first four levels are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, each in their own level. Starting in Level 5, each level will contain more than one type of operation. Levels 5-10 still have just one operation per problem, though the operations are mixed as each problem is presented. Then in Level 11, the difficulty and real meat of this app begins.
It was quickly difficult for me to complete more than just a handful of equations within the time limit, but it definitely helped my skills. Even in just the time I needed to review the app, I noticed my speed and accuracy improving. It is very helpful for kids to have this type of practice with math facts to develop fluency. The ability to solve problems quickly also helps on testing.
Once multiplication and division are added to the multi-operations levels, it quickly became even more difficult! Since one still needs to follow the order of operations (PEMDAS in the United States), I had to first mentally fill in the multiplication or division portion, then quickly figure out what number I needed for the addition/subtraction portion, and then finally enter the numbers in the correct order they should be written down (not the order the problem is completed). These levels are definitely above my 9 year old daughter's skill level, at least to be timed, making this app good for problem solving and fluency for students all the way through elementary school and even beyond. In addition, users who are advanced in math will likely enjoy the challenge of thinking through a problem mentally and then translating it quickly to the iPad screen.
I had a few problems- if, after selecting one number the user realizes that another number needed to complete the equation isn't available on the screen, there is no way to remove the number or clear the problem. This meant I sometimes had to deliberately get one wrong. And occasionally I had a problem where there was only one way to complete it, and for which I did not have all necessary numbers available. See the photo above for an example.
In addition, there is no way to pause and review an answer. If a student gets a problem wrong, they must be looking at the answer box at the exact moment the numbers are all filled in, because the only indication of accuracy is with either a green check (adding to the score) or a red X (no changes to the overall score). It would be helpful if the app either made a list after each session in order to show problems that were wrong.
The reward/motivational system is very limited. There is no list of best scores on each level, and the only reward is a certificate scroll when a new top score is achieved. It might be hard to keep some students engaged. In addition, there is no way to increase the amount of time for each game. On the last levels, I found myself pausing the game after each problem to take a few more seconds to figure it out. Educators would prefer to be able to change how long each game lasts, or to be able to allow students to complete the problems with no time. That would allow the game to be used very easily with more independence- the students could even then stop and write down all of the problems they completed.
Overall, this is a no-frills app with a lot of good benefits for problem solving and math fact fluency. It's definitely worth a look for teachers and parents of students who need help in these areas (or enjoy the challenge!) A few additions would really strengthen this app, but with no ads, no in-app purchases and no external links in the full version, it's still worth it to purchase this app now.