Math Mathews App Review
App Name: Math Mathews
Mom’s Rating: 4/5
Kids’ Rating: 5/5
Recommended Grades/Ages: Grades 2-6, remedial multiplication for higher grades
Skills Developed: Multiplication, Times Tables, Mental Math
Available On/Price: iPad – $2.99
Reviewed on: iPad
Math Mathews is an animated-style, epic-quest based multiplication app for pirate-tale lovers. In this Pirates of the Caribbean inspired narrative, your child is recruited to help the crew of Math Mathews find the pieces of the missing necklace of Sylla in order to return the doomed captain to his human form (he’s currently an octopus!)
When you first download the app you might want to read the Diary Ship’s log section of the app, where your children can read the story behind the quest and learn how they can uncover more of the captain’s story (by finding all three necklace parts).
By successfully completing all three multiplication mini-games (from 1×1 – 9×9) without errors all of the pieces of the necklace can be recovered. Along the way though, your child can gather badges for their math skills (beginner, trainee, apprentice, adept, master, expert), collect gold coins, and search for exotic, mystical treasures to collect in the treasure room.
Three mini-games challenge your child’s multiplication skills, each from a different mathematical approach, I’ve listed them in approximate order of difficulty, but your child can choose to have an adventure on any island in the archipelago at any time.
The sacred cave at the Island of Takoga finds Mathews and his crew log surfing while dodging boxes while in search of the gem for the necklace. Answering the displayed multiplication problem from the multiple-choice selections will ensure that your log doesn’t hit a box. An example of these math problems is 4 x 8 = ?
The ancient citadel at the Island of Kariba takes the crew to the sunken ruins of an ancient citadel in his airship in search of the medallion of the necklace. Your child must avoid the bombs dropped Captain Mathew’s enemy Buck (another cursed pirate captain) while solving mental math multiplication problems. Boxes of TNT will fall from the sky showing the answer for a multiplication problem, your child needs to load the on-ship cannon correctly in order to destroy the boxes. The number on the bag of powder is provided, and your child needs to set the cannon number up and down to reach the correct answer. An example of this math problem is 9 x ? = 72 for example.
The secret temple on the Island of Hiriga places the crew on an old elevator that must be lifted by mechanical means and their own arms while they search for the chain of the necklace. A blank multiplication chart representation is the key way of moving the elevator – a number is shown, and your child needs to select the number of blocks high and the number of blocks across that are needed to find the multipliers that will result in the answer shown. ? x ? = 8 is an example of this math question, multiple answers may be correct (2 x 4, 4 x 2 or 1 x 8, 8 x 1 for example).
Three rounds of questions are presented in each mini game (each with 5 questions), followed by a bonus round where math questions are mixed in with opportunities to grab coins and treasure and destroy obstacles while fleeing from a game-specific enemy. While incorrect answers won’t stop the game in the regular rounds, in the bonus rounds answering questions incorrectly and not destroying obstacles will slow you down and the bonus round will end early if the threat catches up (three mistakes before the bonus round ends early).
Answering the math questions correctly (and before the timed fuse of dynamite explodes) earns coins and combo bonuses, and works towards earning achievement badges in the treasure room. Special treasures can be found in the bonus round by performing well on the previous rounds – you can view them all on display and learn about their special mythologies in the Treasure Room. (Hint: Turn off your iPad’s multitasking gestures for all that coin tapping madness in the bonus rounds!)
A treasure-map style progress chart appears at the top of each game, showing the progress through the rounds, and the collected treasures and coins. It also gives a visual estimate of how far your child is from the end of that specific adventure. Each game also provides an option to turn the music off and to exit the game at any point (but the collected treasures will be lost of this is the case).
Before heading out on an adventure or between adventures your child can select from any combination of the 1-9 times tables to practice. Hard sailing in the 7’s – just close all the number scrolls at the bottom of the screen except for the 7. The calculator style interface provides a multiplication tables chart to reference in the help for sections and shows statistics including total questions answered, number correct, number of errors and percentage (these are cleared each new practice round). If your child is struggling with a certain times table (you can check in the notebook to see their grade for each times table), this section of the app provides built-in practice and drill.
Seven player profiles can be created, each with their own treasure rooms and notebooks that track progress. Player profiles can be switched and new ones created by clicking the crew button.
The Notebook contains reports and statistics for each player, it also clues your child in about special treasures that can be found in certain adventure locations (some based on certain math performance successes). In the basic report, the total number of adventures, gold collected, highest gold in one adventure, highest combo number, and general grade for the app are shown. You can also see the overall grade for each multiplication table from 1-9 on this screen. The detailed report shows chronological graded progress in each table and the current badge award level.
Parents may wish to note that the app does include reference to/collection of enchanted/cursed objects. The game play instructions and background information require an independent reader, no spoken audio is included.
Other Notes: This app doesn’t include any advertising, tracking, social media integration, in-app purchases, web links, email links etc. – it’s entirely child-safe.
What We Liked:
Math Mathews is really a great app; I keep hearing the theme music from Math Mathews coming from my 9-year-old daughter’s direction as she sneaks some game time in on this multiplication app. We compare treasure rooms and my six-year-old keeps asking me to read the log book to her.
To give you some background, our family takes a relaxed approach to early math, and as a result, my nine-year-old is just formally tackling multiplication now (although she’s been familiar with the concept for a number of years). Although she hasn’t formally learned all of her tables yet, she dug right into Math Mathews and wouldn’t let go. I thought she might find it too challenging, but she just keeps on keeping on! She loves it (and I have to say I’ve put in time on it too)!
I really, really appreciate the fact that the game play doesn’t depend upon super-gamer kid skills – even non-gamey kids can enjoy this game-based app just by answering math questions. Your child won’t have to answer math questions AND avoid/conquer very complicated obstacles/maneuvers etc. Just the math, and a few things to tap and drag – pretty simple, but still exciting.
Multiple approaches to multiplication practice are included to strengthen and deepen mathematical understanding – multiple choice, mental math (missing multiplier), and choosing both multipliers to reach a sum. I’ve reviewed quite a few math apps, but I haven’t seen an immersive, game-play presentation of the times table chart like the elevator in the secret temple mini-game. I also really appreciate the ability to create multiple user accounts and the detailed tracking that helps pinpoint trouble tables for further practice.
What We Didn’t Like:
The app doesn’t include a pause button, and going all the way through one of the mini-games without a break is sometimes more than can be managed in a single sitting. Sometimes we fake it by hitting the quit button and then canceling our choice to quit.
While children can practice specific tables in the practice section, game play itself encompasses all the 1-9 tables, it would be nice to have a setting for a game with only 1-5 for example for younger children who don’t have them all learned or introduced yet.
Math Mathews takes children on a epic pirate-adventure while practice multiplication skills from a variety of angles. Children sink deeply into the storyline, and the collection of treasure really keeps them motivated to move through the mini-games and to master those timetables in order to get the magic necklace pieced back together to save Captail Mathews.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!