Multiplying Acorns App Review
App Name: Multiplying Acorns HD – Tasty Math Facts
Mom’s Rating: 5/5
Kids’ Rating: 5/5
Recommended Grades/Ages: Grades 2-4
Skills Developed: Multiplication
Reviewed on: iPad
Multiplying Acorns is the third math app in the Tasty Math Facts series of apps to bring hands-on, conceptual learning to iDevices. Designed much like Adding Apples and Subtracting Sardines (previously reviewed, 5/5 Apples and a Golden App award), Multiplying Acorns introduces young mathematicians to a whole clan of friendly squirrels and their acorns that need to be cracked!
An dark walnut wooden calculator with the numbers from 1-9 and a rustic wooden chute that the acorns are tossed into make up the main game screen. If you are working on a problem like 9×2, nine cute squirrels will appear at the bottom of the chute when the 9 is pressed, then when the two is pressed, they will pop up one at a time and toss their acorns into the chute. When tapped to solve the acorns crack out of their shells. Alternately the = button can be pressed to automatically crack all of the acorns (this is especially nice when you get up to 9×9!)
When they acorns are all free of their shells a multiple choice answer screen slides out, and your child can select the correct answer. Once the correct answer is chosen the nuts are replaced with gold coins, one slips into a slot on the calculator and is added to your child’s statistics.
Correct answers, incorrect answers, and accuracy as a percent are inconspicuously displayed (those are for you Mom), while the number of coins earned, number of acorns cracked, and any awarded trophies are prominently displayed. Awesome 3D squirrel trophies are awarded after 25, 50, and 100 multiplication problems have been solved.
There are a number of very useful features. You can reset the statistics, enable automatic multiply button and clear button functions for small children (I like this, then your child just needs to push numbers and not the x key on the calculator), you can set the app to lock the keys that have already been used or leave them open, the music can be set on or off, and you can limit the highest number your child can use (from 2-9) so you can just focus in on lower numbers for beginners and increase the level of difficulty as more fact sets are learned.
You can even set up to three profiles for your children so they can earn their own trophies, you can save their own individual settings, and you can see all of their stats at a glance on the opening screen. It’s also pretty straightforward to switch between users as well.
What We Liked:
Multiplying Acorns has enough fun visual appeal built into it that children really enjoy practicing their multiplication facts with this app. My eight-year-old told me, “I can REALLY learn multiplication with this app I think, just by practicing!” She felt so empowered. I have tried explaining multiplication to her orally, but she grasped the basics of how it works instantaneously when I showed her how the app works, how each squirrel brings a certain number of acorns with it. “Oh yeah, I get it!” she told me.
Like all the apps in this series the design is top-notch and the squirrels are terribly cute! In fact, of all the Tasty Math Facts apps, I think that Multiplying Acorns is the most adorable – I just can’t resist those fluffy-tailed little guys.
What We Didn’t Like:
I’d love to see an option that slows down the release of the nuts somehow or makes it easier to associate each squirrel with their acorn contribution. This is pretty clear when each squirrel only has up to four nuts, but when larger numbers are used it can be tricky to make the visual connection between each squirrel bringing a certain number of nuts because they all pop out so quickly.
Multiplying Acorns is a great tool to introduce children to the concept of multiplication. The ability to practice repeatedly in a low-stress, exploratory environment really helps to build confidence with the visual support of the acorn manipulatives.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!