How I Use It
We've been using Mathmateer in our K-5 classrooms for about 2 years. I have observed that this particular app leads students to focus on rocket building, rather than practicing math concepts. Certain concepts, such as finding even numbers, lend themselves well to this method. Other concepts, like adding coins, simply lead to frustration and random guessing on the part of the student. (The questions change so quickly a student might find herself touching coins that add to 8 cents without realizing that the question has now changed to 12 cents.) This app would be particularly suited to a small group setting in which the teacher could guide the practice fairly closely.
Mathmateer is ostensibly an app for practicing math concepts. Students build rockets, then fly them as high as they can. When the rocket reaches it's highest point and begins the slow fall back to Earth the student answers math questions by touching answers floating on the screen. Students take a great interest in building the coolest, most interesting, or silliest rocket they can; spending at least half their time building the rockets rather than practicing the math. That does change slightly in the older classes. I like the creative way the practice sessions are "timed". Student have until the rocket falls back to Earth to answer the questions, so they don't realize they are being timed. In order to truly provide a solid learning experience the app would need to incorporate the math practice into the rocket building instead of making them two separate pieces to the app.