Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
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Native Numbers

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Learning makes sense with fun, engaging number games

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K–K
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Engaging, sequenced games do an impressive job of helping kids develop number sense.

Cons: Hints and feedback could be a bit more instructional.

Bottom Line: The app is on the pricey side, but it's a good investment and delivers high-quality games that promote a deep understanding of early math concepts.

Native Numbers is extremely visual and hands-on, so it's best suited for individual practice. Have kids complete one level at a time, and keep a leaderboard to track their accuracy and time. Then reinforce what kids learned by having them work in small groups with actual classroom manipulatives including number rods, number cards, numeral cards, and tally cards. Model the classroom group activity after the level that kids just completed. For example, if kids just finished the rods level in Number Ordering, have them order sets of rods from smallest to largest, and then from largest to smallest. Progress as the app does to sets, tallies, and numerals.

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Native Numbers is a collection of interactive math games that teach young learners about number sense. A teacher dashboard is available on the developer's website, where users can sign up to track the progress of up to four players. Community achievements are listed and continuously updated on the left side of the home screen. When kids tap play, they are taken to a screen that lists all of the available levels, which are grouped by core concepts. There are five core concepts, five levels in each concept, and several interactive activities built into each level. As kids complete the activities, the app tracks accuracy (in percent) and time. These are good motivators, but it would be more helpful if kids could see age-appropriate scores such as number correct and number incorrect. Kids earn trophy seals for completing each level.

The instructional design of Native Numbers is impressive. Four core content areas are covered, with a fifth area designed as a challenge for kids to apply what they learn. The core areas are Number Concepts, Number Relations, Number Ordering, Counting, and Demonstrate Mastery. Learning builds on concepts from previous levels and core areas, which helps kids develop a strong conceptual understanding of numbers. For example, in Number Concepts, kids start by identifying number rods based on their lengths and colors. They are given random groups of rods and are prompted to touch a specific rod that represents a number. In the next level, kids identify numbers based on the number of objects shown on a card. Next, kids drag to match rods with items that represent the same value. Items can be other rods, cards with objects on them, or numeral cards. As kids progress to other core areas, they learn how to compare numbers using words, order numbers, and count. The final core area, Demonstrate Mastery, is an excellent way for kids to apply and assess their learning. And if kids find that they need more practice, they can go back and play any of the games again. Overall, this app is fun and engaging, and learning progresses with carefully sequenced games that help build solid math skills.

Overall Rating

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

The games are highly interactive and colorful. Times and scores are tracked, which motivates kids to focus and successfully complete each level.

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

Each game builds on content learned in previous games, and levels progress seamlessly to help kids develop a strong foundation in early math 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?

Voice commands help young learners understand gameplay, and each new level begins with a brief tutorial.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Ka G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
In the words of my student, "It's just like learning, only fun." No early childhood classroom should be without this app. Use the dashboard to monitor progress.
I found out about this app while attending a workshop for early number sense. I'd been searching for good programs and resources for two years. Our scope and sequence, as well as curriculum, seemed to move too quickly and not deeply enough. I recognized the research base of the app because I had been reading this literature for a few years. The app is adaptive and based on artificial intelligence (so it levels up and down based on student response.). The program gets the students to proficiency and then to fluency. This is the way we should be teaching math, in the same way we teach reading. Rather than assume students comprehend what they can decode, in reading, we insist they explain or describe what they have read. We also track speed and accuracy. Native Numbers is similar, except rather than "explaining" verbally, the last set of tasks requires students tp bring together all the previously learned material, put together in varied ways. Where we fail is teaching students procedures for math, but they don't have the understanding behind those procedures. . I like the teacher dashboard and have used it many times in parent conferences and when providing work samples for diagnosticians. It allows me to see a student's learning. I do wish I could see the exact problem that was given, but then missed. I also would like to see a way to print the graphs found on the dashboard. Other than that...I'd love to see this app expanded to numbers greater than 9; as well as including addition and subtraction problems. This app is only available for iPAD, so audiences with Android base can not use the app. This is a GREAT app...Don't let the price lead you astray...it is worth every cent.
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