Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2015
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Motion Math: Cupcake!

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Irresistibly sweet bakery sim empowers kids to run a successful business

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Real-world sim promotes math, economics, strategic thinking, and lots of fun!

Cons: Audio is not in English and hints and feedback are limited.

Bottom Line: Motion Math: Cupcake! is an empowering, exciting way for kids to learn and practice real-world application related to math and economics.

Use Motion Math: Cupcake! as a supplement in any age-appropriate classroom. It's so much fun that you could use it as a reward for kids who finish work early. Or, use it as part of a consumer math unit. Have kids work in pairs or small groups to set up the bakery. Allow kids to freely play at the beginning or end of class, saving time to discuss their profits and strategies. After the 40 days of running the bakery end, have kids compare their profits and discuss which strategies helped the most.

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Motion Math: Cupcake! is an interactive simulation game like Motion Math: Pizza! that teaches kids about math including concepts related to arithmetic and the coordinate system. Kids start with $50 and use it to purchase ingredients. Then they design a cupcake to sell in the bakery: Using basic dough, they can add ingredients like frosting and sprinkles. After naming their cupcakes, they must set the price of each cupcake using the cost of the ingredients as a guide. Then orders come in from customers in written and spoken form, though the audio is not in English. Some orders are straightforward, while others require some arithmetic. Kids enter the number of cupcakes into a cash register, creating an order ticket; the customer provides a delivery location using coordinates on a grid. As kids play, some coordinates involve negative numbers, fractions, and/or mixed numbers. Adding to the mix is the process of ordering ingredients when they run out, creating new recipes, unlocking new ingredients, and making purchases like a new oven and an upgraded delivery vehicle. As kids make choices, they must consider how to make as much of a profit as possible each day over 40 days.

This is the kind of super-fun, fast-paced game that kids play without realizing how much they are learning. Several Common Core standards are addressed as kids learn about fractions, arithmetic, proportions, and the coordinate system. When customers call in cupcake orders, kids have to perform addition, subtraction, and/or multiplication to figure out many cupcakes each customer wants. Some of the orders are given as word problems, requiring students to use reasoning to solve a problem. When kids deliver the orders, they have to find a customer's location on a coordinate grid. And when they need new baking supplies, kids have to use mental math and reasoning to choose the best deal.

Overall Rating

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

Running a cupcake business is serious fun, and continuous new challenges keep kids on their toes.

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

Kids are challenged to use a combination of math skills, reasoning, and critical thinking. The problems get increasingly more difficult. Feedback could help.

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

The developer's website has a blog and users can opt to sign up for a newsletter. Some more in-app hints and English audio could help younger kids or kids who are struggling.

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