Review by Caryn Lix, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2016

Sushi Monster

Clever addition and multiplication drills for practice, not instruction

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1-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Problems are fun and challenging and force students to think quickly.

Cons: Each level moves so fast that students have no time to reflect on incorrect answers.

Bottom Line: Sushi Monster offers free, solid math practice and a clever concept.

Use Sushi Monster in class to improve kids' math fluency and speed in addition and multiplication or as homework assignments for daily practice. Each level (seven for addition, five for multiplication) includes 14 problems. Students can dedicate 10 minutes a day to improving math fluency and have some silly fun in the process.

You won't be able to monitor incorrect answers with the free version, though, so other forms of practice and assessment will need to supplement Sushi Monster. Scholastic offers a full, paid program, of which Sushi Monster is one of 12 practice games, and it does include student accounts and a teacher dashboard. 

Continue reading Read less Monster is a fun and effective way to practice addition and multiplication. Students work in reverse to solve problems. Each round begins with a set of target numbers. The chef puts numbered plates of sushi on the counter, and kids must choose the correct combination of plates to meet the target, thereby feeding the sushi monster. If correct, the monster gobbles up the sushi. If incorrect, the hungry monster is not happy!

Students unlock the next level by hitting at least 12 of the 14 target numbers. Players get all new numbers when replaying a level. There are, of course, multiple ways to reach the target, but if you don't think ahead (all target numbers for the level appear at the top of the screen), you won't have the right numbers to make the later targets.

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Editor's note: Teachers should know that Sushi Monster has some privacy concerns. Consult our full evaluation for details.

Colorful, cartoony monsters and great sound effects add to the playful vibe. Outbursts from the monsters are more thrilling than scary and increase the engagement factor.

When students miss a problem, the app doesn't show what they could have done differently to reach a correct answer. Sushi Monster offers a helpful strategy tip for each level to assist frustrated players, but it's easy to miss this option since kids have to pause the game to find it. Players might well get overwhelmed because the difficulty ramps up quite a bit between levels -- sometimes into five-digit numbers. Even as a free app and not part of Houghton Mifflin's full, paid program, Sushi Monster is a fun way for students to build math speed and fluency, as well as some logic and basic problem-solving skills.

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Overall Rating

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

Sushi Monster draws kids in with a silly, fun premise, and the fast-paced math keeps them engaged.

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

Sushi Monster goes slightly beyond basic memorization and practice by encouraging students to use critical thinking to create strategies that use numbers most effectively.

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

Though students can pause and get help on problems, there's no instruction or explanation of incorrect answers. 

Common Sense Reviewer
Caryn Lix Classroom teacher