Common Sense Review
Updated August 2012

Marble Math

Marvelous mazes make for engaging math practice
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Kids solve math problems as they roll a marble through a maze.
  • Fun obstacles challenge kids to think about more than math as they solve the problems and navigate the marble into the hole.
  • Create user accounts for students and allow them to mix and match their own avatar.
  • Choose specific skills within one of three levels for each student to practice.
  • Info page provides teacher access to instructions, user settings, and more.
Pros
Cool twists, like flashlight play, flow seamlessly into math practice.
Cons
It takes a while for kids to earn first marble, but it's a minor concern.
Bottom Line
Marble Math offers students absorbing gameplay and customizable math skills practice.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

One of the most fun, customizable, and effective math games available for older elementary school-age kids. Absorbing, fast-paced gameplay.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

This highly customizable math app helps kids learn many math skills. Tricky mazes combined with relevant, concept-building math problems help develop problem-solving and strategy skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Kids earn points and new marbles to keep them motivated. Customization options allow multiple kids to save their scores and settings, or to tailor questions to focus on specific skills. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Marble Math is an excellent resource for individual student math practice. That teachers can create as many customizable user accounts on Marble Math is yet another bonus in ease of classroom use for this spot-on math practice game. Kids will get excited about choosing their silly avatar face parts and choosing skills to work on, which provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to discuss individual math skills strengths and areas for improvement with each student as well. Consider taking time to make an account with each student. Other ideas: Place a jar of marbles in the classroom and have kids add one from a bag into the jar for every session played or for reaching a point total milestone on Marble Math for a visual illustration of how practice adds up. Teach the class how to play an old-fashioned game of real marbles as a reward. Discuss critical-thinking skills and mazes, and how mazes are used in experiments to study human and animal behavior. 

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What's It Like?

Marble Math is core math practice wrapped in fun mazes. Kids solve problems by moving marbles around to collect the right numbers for the problems' solutions around the mazes. Marble Math includes many skills areas from which teachers can pick and choose, depending on each student's needs. While it may not seem like they're working on math as they move through the mazes packed with obstacles, cool adaptations, and point-earning rounds, kids are practicing a multitude of math and critical-thinking skills. Math problems appear at the top of the screen, such as "Collect fractions that add up to 2." Then, kids navigate through the maze with their marble to pick up answers to the problem and avoid obstacles as they move the marble toward the pinball-like hole that earns them points. Kids can tap the "show me" button to see the correct maze pattern and math answer. Customization options allow teachers to create accounts for as many kids as they want, to save their scores, and to limit practice to certain skills.

Designed for ages 9-12, this version of Marble Math moves much more quickly and has more challenging obstacles than the Marble Math Junior  version. The flashlight rounds, for example, black out all of the maze other than the direct area the marble is currently traveling, requiring kids to remember and recall what other numbers and where the obstacles are located on the screen. Otherwise, Marble Maze is very easy to play, and the info page acts as a sort of teacher dashboard as well as step-by-step instructions. Skillfully designed math practice creates sticky gameplay.

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Is It Good For Learning?

This maze game makes it fun for kids to exercise their newly acquired core math skills.  So many different skills are incorporated into the one main maze game on Marble Math that it makes for a truly versatile, sticky, and effective math practice experience. Kids can practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, Roman numerals, decimals, negative numbers, and more on three levels of difficulty. Because teachers can set the skills they want each user to practice, each student can focus on individual, often Common Core-aligned skills they need to build. As kids move through any of the mazes, regardless of math skills chosen, they use critical-thinking skills to bypass obstacles and also must keep in mind ways to collect extra points and not lose points by marbles falling down holes. You can turn off obstacles and bonuses in settings for kids who are easily distracted or frustrated, and kids can move the marbles with a finger or a tilt of the device. The tricky mazes combined with math problems give older elementary school-age kids fantastically varied and fun math practice.

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