Common Sense Review
Updated July 2012

NineGaps

Sudoku-like puzzler uses all four math operations
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Kids can challenge themselves to beat their best time or compare scores on Game Center.
  • Novice level has four squares pre-filled; difficulty then advances through medium, advanced, expert, and master.
  • Master level has no squares pre-filled.
  • Directions are simple, but play is challenging.
Pros
Kids compete with themselves to improve time, skills.
Cons
No hints or strategies are available to help scaffold learning.
Bottom Line
Challenging game makes math practice fun.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Very challenging and fun math puzzler sure to be a hit with kids who love puzzles and math. Math-averse kids also may be engaged if they have a competitive streak.

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

No instruction is included for math problem solving, but kids will strengthen math skills and algebraic thinking by solving multi-operation puzzles. Math is baked into every aspect of play, which will tranfer well to other activities.

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

Kids can see their best times and compare it to others if they opt in to the Game Center. Game play instructions are clear and easy to understand, but no math help is available.

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

NineGaps is a fun way for students to get daily math practice, and it's a great brain workout. Use it as a daily warm-up activity, letting kids play for five minutes before instruction begins. It's also a fun homework activity for daily math skills practice in all operations. Teachers could inspire fun internal competition for kids to beat their own best times by offering some type of recognition for personal records.

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What's It Like?

NineGaps is a Sudoku-style game that allows kids to practice arithmetic in a race against time. Kids drag digits 1 through 9 to empty slots in a 3x3 grid of equations, using each number only once. The numbers must be placed so vertical and horizontal equations are all correct. Five challenge levels allow kids at multiple ability levels to play. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication are included in each level; division appears in some levels. When numbers for an equation are placed so the equation is true, chimes play. Trumpets play when an equation is incorrect. To swap numbers, drag one number on top of another and they trade places. The game's high score list shows the fastest time for each level.

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Is It Good For Learning?

NineGaps is a fast-paced, entertaining math game. Rules are simple, and multiple levels provide different levels of challenge. Kids can try to beat their previous times on each level, and as they play, they'll improve their arithmetic skills. The self-evaluation involved with trying multiple solutions transfers well to other problem-solving areas. Other than choosing a playing level, no customization -- such as choosing operations for each puzzle -- is possible. Though more helpful feedback and math tips would give kids room to learn -- not just practice -- math, NineGaps is a challenging way for kids to strengthen existing math skills.

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See how teachers are using NineGaps