Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
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Mental Math Free

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Solid but pretty dull multiplication practice with a few tricks

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Grades
4-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Kids will benefit from quick-hit sessions and repetitive practice.

Cons: Some kids may find such a plain user interface dull.

Bottom Line: Offers solid math practice, but the plain user interface just doesn't encourage engagement.

For classroom use, Mental Math Free is a good idea for kids who need to speed up math calculation. If learned and practiced, the nine mental math techniques –- subtraction, multiplication of various sets, square roots, some algebra-related mental math tricks, factorization, and division –- can help kids calculate math problems more quickly. Mental Math Free is also good for helping kids brush up on their multiplication tables or challenging them to learn tables for higher numbers. A downside of the app is that there are no individual profiles for students to track their progress.

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Mental Math Free is a simple mental math practice and trick-teaching app to help middle and high school students solve math problems more quickly. Younger kids can practice their multiplication tables, while older kids can use the techniques list to learn nine mental math tricks. Training questions and the app's game, “Flash Calc,” help kids practice their skills.

First, tap an option: Times Tables, Techniques, Training, or “Flash Calc.” For Times Tables, set the practice range (for example, to practice times tables 2 through 15, set the left number at 2, then set the range 1 ~ 15 with the next two numbers). Then tap Start to begin solving problems by entering the answers in a number keypad. Tap Techniques to see a list of mental math tricks; tap on one item to view its instructions. Training is practice of the techniques. “Flash Calc” is a quick calculation game where players see 3, 5, 10, or 15 numbers (positive or negative) in a row and must enter the correct total at the end.

 

 

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Kids learn by drilling themselves on Mental Math Free's multiplication tables and by reading and memorizing the techniques, practicing them during Training, and testing themselves in the “Flash Calc” game. The Training portion doesn't allow an incorrect answer to a question. Rather, the screen just remains static until a kid enters another answer. The app provides good information and solid practice for middle and early high school math students, but it's nothing special.

Note: ads run along the bottom of this app; the developer states that tapping an ad will make the ads disappear for 24 hours.

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Overall Rating
2

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
2

The multiplication tables are repetitive practice, and the mental math techniques are simple written instructions plus practice. "Flash Calc" is the most engaging part, with quick gameplay and encouraging feedback.

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

Explanation, memorization, drills, practice, and gameplay promote reasonably deep learning. There's nothing particularly innovative about the approach, but positive feedback helps kids stick with it.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

There are many settings, so kids can customize the multiplication tables, training, and gameplay. Kids are supported with encouraging, insightful quotes during the game, and basic feedback is provided.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Laci M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Broadmoor Elementary School
Lafayette, LA
4
Simple yet Strong Use for Math Fact Practice

This is a great simple resource for math fact practice. I think this is a strong resource to utilize in the classroom to help students practice their math facts. What I think is the strongest aspect of this resource is that it is very plain in visuals, which will prevent students from viewing it only as a game and will help them to treat this practice seriously. I do think it could possibly be a little more visually appealing, but I like the simple layout.

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