Review by Brett Morrow, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013
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Mystery Math Museum

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Fun, well-designed app engages kids as they practice skills

Common Sense says
Teachers say (3 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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1-6 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Content is customizable (operations and number ranges), and there are often multiple correct answers.

Cons: There is no feedback or help for incorrect answers, and questions can be answered incorrectly infinitely.

Bottom Line: Mystery Math Museum poses challenging math exercises in fun, engaging way, but lacks feedback for incorrect answers that would help kids who need additional support.

You can use Mystery Math Museum as a fun game for your students to practice arithmetic. The app offers unlimited user profiles, which makes it ideal for use even on a shared device. The game is most useful when customized to cover specific operations and ranges of numbers, so you'll want to show students how to set options on their own profiles (or set options for students yourself). A down side is that the app doesn't save data that would let students and teachers track progress.

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Mystery Math Museum provides students with practice with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with numbers up to 50. Kids explore the rooms of museums to collect numbers; they then use these numbers to complete math equations to move from room to room. For example, you might collect the numbers 3, 4, 6, and 7, and have to complete the equation ___ + ___ = 10. When you correctly complete an equation, you can move to the next room in the museum. One of the best parts is that the game is customizable –- you can select the operations and ranges of numbers that will be used in equations in the game. 

Each museum has a different theme, and within each museum, each room has a different theme. The complexity of the math covered increases with each level, and the different themes keep the game interesting and different. Every room is full of surprises -- for example, there are many items in each room that make funny sound effects when tapped. There are eight different museums with different themes, so it’s not a game that kids will finish too quickly.

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Kids can learn addition, subtraction, and multiplication as well as algebraic thinking as they solve reverse math problems. Kids see the answer and the operation along with a variety of numbers, and they choose which numbers get their answer. Often, the equations have more than one correct answer, which helps to reinforce the concepts of fluency and equivalency. It is good for students who mostly understand the math concepts already, but it will be less helpful for students who struggle. When students answer a question incorrectly, there is no feedback other than letting them know the answer was incorrect. Students have three “lifelines” to skip difficult problems, but after those run out there is no further support.

 

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Kids will find the mystery concept fun. All the museums are different, which will keep kids interested and wanting to play more. Several tasks are built into the game, so it would take some time to complete the entire game.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids see the solution and must create the problem themselves, adding a level of challenge. Kids can skip questions, but there's no feedback for incorrect answers, making the app less than ideal for kids struggling with math.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

In-game help is clear and detailed, and options let you tailor gameplay to a kid's skill level. Kids can use "lifelines" to skip a problem, but if they have trouble with the math they'll need outside support to improve.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Jennifer A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Montclaire Elementary School
Los Altos, CA
3
FUn Math Skill Practice Through 50

I like that the skill levels can be adjusted to one of 3 different options for each of the 4 operations. The operations can also be selected. This provides a lot of differentiation for both low and advanced math students. The app is also unique in that it provides students the answer to an equation and they have to create the problem. Many times there's more than one correct equation that can be created, prompting the understanding of equivalency. The graphics and story line (finding dragonflies) are engaging, but don't get in the way of the math, which remains the focus. Unfortunately there's no help for students who complete equations incorrectly. They are prompted to try different numbers, but there's no teaching or explanation involved. The app creates profiles for students so they can resume their own level when returning to the game.

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