Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
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Cash Cow

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Money-counting game adds up to truckloads of fun on the farm

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
1-3 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: This game is a highly engaging way to practice addition.

Cons: Game lacks customization options and detailed feedback.

Bottom Line: Cash Cow offers entertaining addition practice that keeps kids engaged with building their farm.

This app can be a really fun way to engage kids in money-based addition practice, especially in 1-to-1 classrooms. The only customization options are to turn sound effects or music on or off, and only three different user accounts can be created. Cash Cow may be an especially good app to recommend to parents for use in at-home math practice, because kids are likely to want to play for extended periods of time (perhaps too much time to fit into the school day on a regular basis).

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Cash Cow is an adding game app that's based entirely around the mathematics of money. In order to clear coins from the board, you need to connect smaller denominations and merge them into larger denominations. For example, connecting five nickels makes a quarter -- but so does connecting a dime, two nickels, and five pennies. The strategy is all in the numbers. Kids can see what the new goal is on each level, and they view the amount of money they've collected at the top of each screen. After successfully completing a level, students can use their "earnings" to buy stuff for the farm -- for example, apple trees, chickens, butterflies, a weather vane. As kids move through the levels, more buying options appear and mini-games add to the fun.

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Cash Cow is a fun way to mix adding practice and money-counting skills. Students use strategy and problem solving to quickly determine which coin combinations are possible. Kids practice adding with coin denominations by adding pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, which can add up to many dollars, depending upon how long kids play (which will most likely be as long as you want, because this app is highly engaging). The beautiful farm scenes that kids make with their earnings are soothing and calm, which add to the app's appeal. The tutorials at the beginning of each new level help kids understand how to be successful. On the downside, struggling players don't get much constructive feedback, and the app lacks customization options.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Don't think about the math -- just play the game! You'll quickly see how fun and appealing it is. And between rounds, players get to use "money" they've collected to decorate and customize their farm scenes.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids learn through multiple attempts, developing problem-solving and strategic thinking skills as they play.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Struggling players don't get much informative feedback, but the tutorials at the beginning of each new level help kids understand how to be successful.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Wendy B. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
2
Using addition concepts, students add loose change to assist in saving a farm from the bank.

This app requires literacy skills as students must read in order to advance to the various levels. While this app claims to assist with counting coins and addition, it falls short. Students are asked to add loose change from a screen filled with nickles, dimes, pennies and quarters, in order to arrive at a pre-determined total which would allow the animal to save his farm. However, while it sounds good, students do not have to actually do any addition. The students can simply click on the coins and it will subtract from the total (such as $5.00). Once the students have selected enough coins, the students will advance to a new level. The students enjoyed playing the game as they were able to use their "farm money" to purchase items in between rounds, such as an apple tree. However, this is a game and not an educational tool.

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