Thursday, May 7, 2015

Five Favorites: Educational Apps

 I'm not getting paid for any of this, but you can repay me by telling me your favorite educational apps in the comments!

 1.  Dragon Box  This is a game about why math is fascinating.  It's a puzzle game that teaches algebra.  Unlike a lot of the math games which reward you for doing math by letting you progress in the game, here algebra is the game, and it is seriously addictive!

I got the family pack, which was good because the younger kids finished the "5+" game and wanted to start the "12+" immediately!

 We all got sucked into this one, from Oob to Mom.  You start out with symbols like in the picture above.  The box wants to be alone!

You end up doing things like the picture to the right.  The box is hiding as an X, but it still wants to be alone.  Every few puzzles, the creature in the box grows a little bit. 

The family pack also included "Elements," a separate game that does geometry puzzles that teach you Euclidian proofs! (So I'm cheating, the first pick was three apps... but I hope this company makes a lot more games!)

2. Stack the States  (and Stack the Countries) And the second pick is two apps.

But so fun!  You answer question about states (or countries).  If you get the question right, you stack the correct state into a pile passing a particular line.  If you pass the line you "win" a random state.  Winning enough states unlocks other mini games. 

We mostly finished this a year ago, but when places come up in the news, Choclo and Oob tend to remark, "I have that state/country!" 

I found the states fun and the countries surprisingly challenging!  With both games you can select the kinds of questions you are asked which makes it usable for a wide range of ages.

 3. Presidents Vs. Aliens  Made by the same people as Stack the States, you answer questions about presidents.  Correct answers give you a president to aim at the aliens - you win by clearing all the alien invasion.  And you win presidents and unlock mini games.

Very fun, plus Oob really shocked an adult by knowing all about James K. Polk.

4. Letter Quest.  This is basically Bookworm as an app.  You build words to defeat bad guys and progress on your quest.  You can play the whole thing free, but we used it enough that I bought it. Great way to learn spelling.

5. Hungry Fish Very simple fun way to build number sense.  Your fish is hungry.  You feed it numbers that add up to the number on the fish.  You can pull numbers together to create larger numbers and, as you progress in the game, the numbers your fish wants get larger and larger.  I believe this game can be expanded to subtraction as well.

I got this for my youngest kids, but found that older kids who had a weaker number sense were drawn to it as well (at higher levels).  It seems to me that it's possible to progress in math without a good number sense (I know I did), but it does not seem possible to enjoy math without number sense.

And now you know why my phone runs out of batteries!  Please tell me your finds in the comments


Queen of Carrots said...

I don't have apps because I don't have a smart phone, but that DragonBox sounds like something I've been looking for all my life. I'll have to try the desktop version.

Leena Valtapaz said...

I wish more of these had desktop or online versions. I'd really rather the kids use the computers than my phone!

Got any PC educational games you love?