Common Sense Review
Updated August 2012

Mathris

Need-for-speed addition game only slightly more fun than flashcards
Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 2
  • Simple concept, simple user interface puts players' focus on speedy solutions.
  • Selected numbers fade as unselected billiard balls pile up.
  • Upper right corner records selected numbers' total related to target total.
  • New background scenery with each level.
  • High scores saved locally and can be shared via the OpenFeint social gaming network.
Pros
Simple gameplay means kids' focus is on speedy sum solving.
Cons
May be too speedy for some kids, and there aren't options for variety or customization -- it's addition only.
Bottom Line
Arcade-style game provides a basic way to practice adding quickly.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

For kids who enjoy fast-paced gameplay, this app will be very engaging. Scenes change with each level, adding some visual reward for moving up in the game.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

This is mostly an addition practice app; there's no real depth of learning here. Just an opportunity for kids to practice speed in solving addition problems.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 1

Data is provided on point totals, high score, and rounds. However, the tutorial consists of one sentence of instructions.

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

Use Mathris in place of flashcards or timed addition facts tests as a solo game to encourage kids to focus on addition speed. For students who are motivated by high scores, encourage them to record their own progress and track their highest level and point totals.

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What's It Like?

Mathris is a single-player math game that kids can use to practice rapid-fire addition. To play, simply tap on falling billiard balls that add up to a target number and earn points to move on to the next level before the screen fills. Tap balls with the numbers 4 and 6 to equal 10; then tap 5 and 5. If you can't find another number to equal the target number, just untap the ball already chosen and restart. Keep going until the screen fills up or you win and move up a level. Unlocking all higher levels of play require an in-app purchase of $.99.

Note: The game links to gaming social network OpenFeint, but the network has shut down as of December 2012.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Because Mathris is a work-against-time game, kids must practice working efficiently and handling the stress of the balls piling up as they're choosing and tapping balls that match. It's fun, but might be more effective in a classroom setting if it included slower modes of play for kids who aren't ready for its super-fast pace, and included more settings such as an in-app score tracking multi-player option, as well as expanding to offer subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The good: Mathris can be the sort of high-speed, in-the-zone, arcade-style fun that makes some kids forget they're actually practicing math. The not-so-good: It may be a bit too rapid-fire for some kids, especially those experiencing difficulty in math or who have attention challenges. The pressure to be fast isn't helpful if there's no in-depth learning underneath it; it might just stress kids out.

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See how teachers are using Mathris

Lesson Plans