Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
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Operation Math: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division

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Spy-themed drills engage elementary students, build math fluency

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
1-5
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Arithmetic drills can be customized; spy-themed missions engage students.

Cons: Games are focused on building fluency, but better feedback could give a boost to the learning experience.

Bottom Line: With its engaging missions, training opportunities, and customizable drills, the app is an excellent alternative to traditional skill drills.

Use the games as a way for students to practice arithmetic skills and build fluency. Kids should work individually so their progress can be tracked. Customize practice by assigning kids to a particular difficulty level and mathematical operation. After they complete a mission, discuss their results as a class to find out who completed the mission in the least amount of time. 

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Operation Math's arithmetic games for kids begin with a brief introduction to the game's overall goal of stopping Dr. Odd from completing his evil plan. Kids then tap a player name, which takes them to a more detailed screen. There, they can choose to undergo training or take on a new mission, select what they want to earn for completing missions (either uniforms or watches), and view their mission's progress. Training is a practice mode that helps kids prepare for missions. It includes three difficulty levels, and consecutive correct answers are tracked. Kids can exit the training session at any time and return to the previous screen. When kids choose to start a new mission, they select an operation to work with, listen to a description of the real-world mission, and solve equations with speed and accuracy. Kids unlock new missions as they play, and earn rewards for successful missions and best training runs. 

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By completing practice runs and missions, kids can become fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Addition and subtraction problems include facts for numbers 0 through 20, and multiplication and division problems cover facts for numbers 0 through 12. Kids practice their skills by completing missions that require speed and accuracy. Games aren't instructional and they provide no feedback for incorrect answers, so kids should have prior experience in arithmetic. Operation Math is a useful math practice tool with an interesting spy-themed twist.

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Overall Rating

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

Spy-themed missions and rewards add a fun twist to arithmetic drills. 

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

Kids get plenty of arithmetic practice by taking training runs and completing missions that track speed and accuracy. Three levels of difficulty and a variety of operations allow for customized practice. Better feedback would add depth. 

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

Excellent verbal prompts walk kids through the steps of completing missions, and an achievements board displays progress. Users can subscribe to a newsletter to stay informed. 


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Susan K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Secret agents do math and save the day!

This is a great app for developing facts fluency. There is language support for struggling readers, as the written missions are read aloud to students. This makes the more sophisticated feel of this resource accessible and engaging for all of my third graders (as well as some of my more competent second graders in my multi-grade class).

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