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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher Reviews

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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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