App review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
Ice Math Ninjas: ZERO
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Ice Math Ninjas: ZERO

Fruit Ninja-style arcade game has cute backstory but lacks depth

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
2–6 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Rapid arcade gameplay and encouraging feedback will entice kids.

Cons: There's not much depth, data isn't saved, and the options for increasing difficulty are insufficient.

Bottom Line: Ice Math Ninja: ZERO is an amusing app for kids who enjoy arcade games, but it's not very complex and has no customization options.

Ice Math Ninja: ZERO is an addictive and adorable set of arcade-style slicing games (think Fruit Ninja) that'll be a blast for elementary-school students who need a little basic math practice. It might also be great fun for older kids and adults who simply enjoy the gameplay and can brush up on math facts and memorization.

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In Ice Math Ninja: ZERO, kids help Tushka the Polar Bear and Pookie the Penguin (who do not live in the same hemisphere in real life) slice up frozen numbers to preserve the energies of the Icelands. Students scan for target numbers and avoid others, and keep an eye peeled for frozen Pookies, gratuitous slicing opportunities, and other bonuses.

The full version has five games. In "Sub-Zero Mines," kids slice everything but zeroes; in "Polar Pair," kids slice even or odd numbers; and in "Cool 21," kids slice a series of numbers adding up to 21. "Cool 21" also covers sequencing a bit, since selecting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to equal 21 gives kids a bonus every time (for no bonus, kids can add randomly, which provides a tad more challenging, though there's no incentive). "Antarctic Add" and "Ice Factor" provide addition and multiplication problems, and kids must slice the sum or factors. Kids can choose easy, medium, hard, or lightning difficulty.

Kids can practice some basic math skills, although not all. For example, there's no game focusing specifically on subtraction and division (we might suggest a subtraction equivalent of the "Antarctic Add" game). Unfortunately, there's also no way to increase difficulty with multi-digit numbers, and data isn't saved from one session to another. Explanation of factors is a bit inaccurate, and download size is off the charts. Still, for quick-hit practice, Ice Math Ninja: ZERO will get students hooked.

Students can learn to increase their speed and efficiency in recognizing evens and odds, two-digit factors, and adding one-digit numbers. Links to Facebook and Twitter can be toggled off by any user.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Arcade-style play is fast-paced and fun, and characters are tough and cute at the same time.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Concepts are sparse, data isn't saved, factor explanation is a bit flawed, and kids can't control or ramp up difficulty other than increasing pace.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Help text is small, and the upside-down 6 and 9 numerals can be a challenge to identify as numbers are flying.


Community Rating

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Featured review by
Valerie D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Interactive Math App!
Overall I would recommend this app. It offers games on addition, prime numbers, odd and even numbers, etc. It also helps that there are varying levels of difficulty. This app can reach out to all students no matter what ability level and pace. I also like that it's free and if you are interested in it you can can upgrade for a small fee. Overall it's a great math tool!
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