|On December 19, 2012
Flashcards are so last-century. Decimals: Addition is a new game for the iPad that helps kids learn to add decimals via fun, space-themed activities. It’s certainly more fun than a calculator.
Open the game and create a profile (the game allows for more than one, so more than one user can get in on the action.) Kids choose a boy or girl avatar and hit the wardrobe to choose an outfit. The main screen is a bedroom environment—achievements, the leaderboard, the wardrobe (for changing outfits) and settings are located here.
Start with a pre-test, which the game uses to ascertain your skill level. If you’ve been relying on a calculator to add decimals for years, you’ll score as poorly as I did (3/10) on this multiple-choice quiz. After the pre-test, three games are offered (two are locked— as you need to earn your way to the next game).
Intruder Alert is a multiple-choice quiz—choose the correct answer to the addition problem before the alien lands on Earth. In Barrier Blast, aliens are building walls, and your job is to choose the two numbered blocks that add up to the total in order to blast them away. Choose incorrectly, and the blocks become concrete. The final game, Toxic Fumes, requires the player to answer a decimal addition problem by choosing from a bunch of floating numbers.
There are some slightly annoying orientation issues when moving from menu to game, and in Toxic Fumes, the floating numbers can bunch together, making it difficult to choose the correct one. I found myself becoming frustrated, so I can only imagine what a kid might feel. I never got past the silver medal after an hour of playing.
Once a player has achieved gold in all three games, there is a post-test. Decimals: Addition also includes two animated tutorial videos which present both Western and Eastern methods for adding.
Players can continue to play to improve their score, and the problems seem to get harder as skill improves.