Monday, July 11, 2011

Rocket Math

I'm way behind on posting about the apps I've found, but talking with colleagues at the end of the school year got me inspired again to post about two math apps we were looking at together, both called Rocket Math. They both give kids practice in routine math helping build the automaticity they need with basic math facts.

One is Rocket Math from the developer Dan Russell-Pinson for $0.99. (There is a free version you can try out.) Personally, I didn't particularly like this one very much at first, but a first grade teacher told me that she's been using it with her class and they all love it. You have to complete multiple choice math problems to earn 'money'. You can choose which operation to work on and the level of difficulty. You use your money to build a rocket, which you then attempt to fly into space on a mission that is also math related. Although the math missions start at an easy level (tap all the even numbers) they cover a wide range of topics. There are 56 different missions. The most advanced ones ask students to do things like identify numbers that are divisible by 3, the equations that have a remainder of 1, or the square root of a given number.  This app allows you to save up to 5 profiles for different students. The profile saves the rockets the student has built, along with the info about the maximum height it reached and the maximum score the student achieved on a mission with that rocket. 

The other app with essentially the same name is Rocket Math HD.  Students can work on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at three different levels. The first level involves adding single digit numbers, the second is double digit numbers, and the third includes triple digit numbers. Students have to solve four problems correctly and then they can go ahead and try to launch their rocket. The visuals for this reward are great - though I would watch for kids who may choose to get answers wrong in order to see their rocket crash! There is a scratch pad next to the problems so that students don't have to do the math in their head - unlike the other Rocket Math game, this one is not multiple choice. At the simpler level, students could create their own manipulatives to help them with the problems, and at the higher levels they can write out the problems to help them with the necessary regrouping. I'm not a math teacher but the 3rd/4th grade math teacher I was talking to really liked this app. It's not perfect, but the developers have updates planned and it's currently free. Currently (version 1.2) the high score function does not appear to be working, and the settings button does not work.

Neither app has any advertising, neither requires you to be connected to the Internet to play. Both apps have sound effects (which many students like.) Neither has any way for a teacher to check and see what a student has been working on. Students could appear to be working hard but consistently picking the easiest level to work on and not challenging themselves. Still, with free versions of both available right now they're both worth grabbing.


  1. Hi, I am going to share math app i.e. Splash math. Splash math is a fun way to practice math. This app is also engaging for the kids to learn math. This app is also available for grade 1-5.

  2. Thanks Craig - I thought I'd already written a review of Splash Math - my son has been using it for a couple of years now and really likes it. You said it's available for grades 1-5 - there's actually a kindergarten version available too.