Rocket Math - Basic Math Facts Fun Learning Game for elementary kids grades kindergarten to 5th
Rocket Math is a game that provides children with lots of practice in using the 4 number operations. Children need to answer questions accurately and quickly, using their knowledge of number facts in order to complete missions. As children progress through the game, the missions become increasingly difficult to encourage fluency.
Rocket Math is aimed at 6 to 8 year-olds who are at least comfortable with addition using their fingers to count. This review is based on a version designed for iPhone, which works equally well on iPad.
The learning method used by Rocket Math has been tried and tested for 15 years and the developers claim to have a very high success rate. Their website rocketmath.com will give more details for those interested in the research. The basic progression through the activity is for the student to learn through attempting simple mathematical problems. They learn one operation of fact at a time and the learning is split up into three sections - ‘take off’, ‘orbit’ and ‘into the universe’. The calculation is displayed with a number pad for the student to type in the correct answer. Each section is time based and progression depends on quick and accurate answering. For every error an electronic voice reads out the calculation for the user.
Once one operation of fact has been successfully completed the student sees a letter grid with blocks labelled from A to Z. One block is taken away to reveal part of a rocket ship encouraging the student to complete the whole operation until all blocks disappear.
There is a built in time restriction that only allows the app to be active for 5 minutes before you are told that the ‘batteries are recharging’. After 30 minutes the app announces that the ‘batteries have been recharged’ and the student can study again for another 5 minutes. Again, this is another aspect of the method that Rocket Math has used for its pencil-and-paper version.
There is a very ridged structure within the app for any progression to be allowed. This is understandable because it is attempting to recreate something that has worked successfully in a different format. Those who are going to get the absolute most out of what Rocket Math offers must first buy-in to the method and follow closely what is expected. There’s no doubt it takes commitment, however, there is a certain feel of being ‘trained’ by the app. The rocket theme tries to hide this slightly for the student along with the rewards once each stage is completed.
I am hesitant to suggest improvements, as it is clear that the developers have spent years fine-tuning through the original version! I am sure though it would help to include a baseline for each student at the beginning. Then they could start the app at the appropriate personal level without having to go through all the calculations they can already do. There is also a lot expected of the student before they are awarded a picture of a rocket ship; with 3 sections in each operation fact and 26 facts to learn it is going to take a long time!
Maths apps for primary school are becoming more and more common. If an individual app is to standout in the crowd then it has to be backed by proven educational methods along with the ability to keep a young student’s attention. Rocket Math certainly has the stamp of approval for educational method.
From the Developer
This is the original Rocket Math—put into an app after 15 years as a paper and pencil math facts program in classrooms around the country. Not just another math facts game, this classroom-tested math facts practice and learning program is scientifically designed to be effective in developing math facts fluency.
Give your child the most important math tools for success in school!
This app was designed by the original Rocket Math author, Dr. Don Crawford to duplicate the method of learning and the successful experience students get using the classroom version.
The unique Rocket Math sequence enables children to learn just two facts and their reverses at a time, practice them until they are memorized, and combine them with all the facts they have learned in cumulative review.
Children cannot help but master math facts by playing this game.
Rocket Math App Features:
• Plays through levels A-Z as users learn more facts.
• Each level begins with "Take-Off" followed by "Orbit" and then finishes with "Universe."
• Choose to learn either addition facts followed by subtraction or multiplication facts followed by division.
• Universal app, buy just once and use it on your iPhone or iPad.
• Multiple levels - Small steps in a carefully designed sequence ensures success.
• Print achievement certificates or share them via email.
• Voice guided, no adult supervision needed.
• Family friendly - keeps track of up to 3 users.