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Pros: Kids may almost forget they're practicing math as they focus on capturing the villains.
Cons: The stage-setting story and directions are all text (no voice instruction), so kids need to be able to read or have text read to them.
Bottom Line: Cool superheroes, a great story, and lots of ways to personalize the learning make this math app a blast to play either solo or with others.
Teachers can use the game as a post-lesson practice tool or as a reward for kids who finish classwork early. If kids are playing for the first time, have them play through the animated tutorial in pairs. Then help kids set up a profile name and choose a game level based on what they are learning in the classroom. Kids can play alone or with classmates. Extend the learning experience by having a brief class discussion about the game and how it helped kids.
Numbers League is a math practice app that revolves around an exciting superhero mission. Villains (creatures, not humans) are roaming the town, and number heroes must capture them by matching combinations of numbers to each villain's Kryptonite-like digit that renders the villain powerless. The baddies land in jail in this completely nonviolent superhero vs. bad guys game. In the optional practice round tutorial, kids create their personal hero and begin to understand how the game works. Another tutorial option simply explains the game in text and images. The practice round is highly recommended, especially for kids at the younger age recommended for this app. Kids can play solo or take turns with some of their classmates, each of whom (up to four) can have their own superhero avatar.
Kids make a hero by combining superhero head, body, and feet sections, where each part has a certain numerical value. A full compiled hero's value is the sum of its body parts, and they'll attack villains with the same number. Different strategies throughout the process can be used to attain the villain's target number, such as adding multiple heroes' sums. There are also "simple devices" that can be attached to the heroes to give them extra mathematical abilities.
Playing the game, younger kids practice basic arithmetic and mental math. Older kids can play a more challenging game that includes negative numbers and multiplication, depending on which level is chosen (1-5). Once kids understand the game, Numbers League is so much fun that kids revel in practicing math to rid the city of its villain problem. As a result, they're learning an even bigger math lesson: that using numbers can solve real-life problems (even though in this game the "real life" problems involve masked superheroes and silly bad guys).
Each round begins with a newspaper showing the player's name in its headlines with a motivational caption. Players tap on that headline to start, and create heroes to defeat villains. The levels progress in difficulty so that by the last level, players are using sophisticated math skills to defeat the baddies. Kids must use logic to figure out which new heroes to build, because they can only carry seven heroes at a time within the game. When kids have captured all the villains, the game is over. This sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is; however, it's crucial that kids read the traditional tutorial or play the interactive tutorial (recommended method) before playing the game the first time. There are also many explanation tabs throughout the game and hints if a kid gets stuck. However, the hints could be a bit more instructive so kids can be sure to learn from their errors. The ability to track progress would be beneficial as well.