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Maths Practice App


Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game

Math Skill Help 4 Kids & Teens

iPhone/iPad - Paid

Teacher Overview

Put your mental arithmetic and memory skills to the test in this game which hones the player's ability to identify prime numbers.  Multiplication and division skills are part of this process so Bubbly Primes pulls together a variety of children's maths skills as it gives them a secure understanding of prime numbers.

Teacher Review

Prime numbers are the building blocks of maths.  Every number can be reduced down into numbers that multiply together to form it.  But not primes - they can only ever be made by multiplying themselves with one.  This isn't just an interesting quirk it is the basis of many practical applications of maths - not least of all securing your financial transactions over the internet.

Despite their complex and powerful uses, the concept of primes can and should be understood by children.  Learning about them is a natural part of understanding multiples and factors.  It is useful for children to be able to recognise the first few prime numbers and to be able to work out if higher numbers are prime or not.  Bubbly Primes is a fun way to learn to recognise primes and to mentally calculate if a number is prime.

There have been other games where you pop bubbles that meet certain criteria but these are usually a binary right or wrong.  In this game, you leave prime numbers alone but pop the composite numbers (those that are not prime) which then turn into numbers that multiply to make up the original number.  These may be prime or composite and so the choice to pop or not is made again.  This is a really elegant mechanic that is simple to follow and yet represents its subject matter really well.

The game starts off quite slowly and the player can leisurely select the numbers.  As progress is made, the numbers became higher ones.  The first few primes are easily remembered but the higher that they go the less easy they are to recall.  Players will have to employ mental arithmetic strategies to make their choices.  Even numbers, aside from 2, are never prime but odds take more thinking.

Which of these is prime? 51 or 53?  Neither is in any commonly learned times table but only one is prime.   The game will give you time to work it out but not unlimited time, so a few maths tricks or fluency in mental arithmetic will be needed.  (The answer is 53, by the way, as 3 x 17 = 51).  

Teachers and parents can discuss with children different ways and shortcuts to determine if a number is in a times table or not and the website that supports Bubbly Primes has a great explanation about primes, their importance, and strategies to use in the game.

Some random elements, the critters, add more of a gameplay feel to the proceedings as they interact with the bubbles.  Sometimes they provide help and send the bubble in a helpful direction.  At other times, you'll be whispering curses as they knock a bubble upwards, eating into your precious calculation time.

The gameplay environment is a calming one.  Hand drawn graphics represent the bubbles and critters.  A decidedly tranquil tune in the style of renaissance music plays throughout although the app can detect if you are playing your own music in another app and mute its own while leaving the sound effects playing.

Like most games that try to incorporate an aspect of learning into them, Bubbly Primes is not going to compete with a purely entertainment-based app for children's interest.  Nor is progression and reward in the app as finely honed as in pure games.

 Nevertheless, children need to practise the skills tested in this app.  They could do it on a paper-based worksheet but it would be a rare child who did not find this app to be a much more pleasurable way of doing the same thing.    Bubbly Primes has a clear aim for its players and has hit upon a fun and useful way of helping them to achieve it.

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Teacher Certification

Teacher Rating for the app

Teacher Rating

App Advertising or In-App Purchases

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No

Screenshots

Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game App - 1
Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game App - 2
Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game App - 3
Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game App - 4
Bubbly Primes - Factoring Game App - 5

Developer Description

Working on fractions? Try a factoring game.
This deceptively simple arcade-style game features hand-drawn animated characters, classical music, a hypnotically soothing underwater world, and a critically important educational mission. It’s a real game, not a thinly disguised quiz or flash cards. It creates a powerful metaphor between how the bubbles behave, and how numbers work.

Originally intended as a simple, healthy, math game for kids, clever Bubbly Primes players have repurposed it as:
- A classroom activity.
- A family quality-time game.
- A brain training exercise for adults.

Bubbly Primes is a non-violent game, with no ads, and no in-app purchases.
Once installed, it also doesn’t require internet access — it’s an offline game.

- “A really fun game that teaches kids about prime numbers and factoring,” - The Parenting Beyond Discipline podcast.

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How To Play

For a video, search for “How To Play Bubbly Primes”. It really only takes a few seconds to figure out the basic game.

- Tap “Start” to begin.
- Tap bubbles that contain composite numbers (numbers you can factor).
- As bubbles pop apart your score goes up.
- Keep popping them until they’re broken down to prime numbers.
- As prime numbers get to the top, they raise your score.
- Avoid tapping prime number bubbles. If you do, they’ll darken and fall to the bottom, lowering your score.
- As your score rises, playful critters appear.
- You can tap critters to change what they do.
- You can tap the water to make waves that move bubbles or critters.
- When a non-prime “composite” number gets to the top, it turns reddish and it’s too late to factor it.
- You can get rid of escaped bubbles by successfully factoring a rising bubble with the same number.
- Each time you achieve a new level, all escaped bubbles will go away, and you will get points for bubbles in the water.
- When five composites escape to the top, the round ends.
- If your score is one of the five highest, you can enter your name, and choose a critter for its symbol.

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Do you know the factors of 117 yet? The more you play, the more amazing your number skills will become.

Nuhubit is a trademark of Nuhubit Software Studios LLC

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