Mathstuff is a mobile app that is an educational game. It is aimed at young children and is for learning and improving mathematics. You have to answer a number of questions in an exercise which is timed, at the end you are given a score. You also have a creature that reacts to how well you are doing. Repeating the exercise will let you compare your time with your best time (as long as you answer all the questions correctly) so you can try and beat the clock.
The game aspect provides a fun factor, the mathematical aspect provides an educational factor. I wrote it to be as family friendly as possible so it doesn’t collect user information unless there is a technical need for it and although there are adverts designed to cover costs, they are kept to a minimum. You can find out more in the apps documentation:
Why I wrote it
“Becky’s Dad is a chef and spends most of the day cooking in a kitchen. What’s your job, Dad?”
“I’m a software developer,” I replied “and I spend most of my day writing code.”
Then came the other questions. What is software? What is code? Each answer just led to new questions.
Explaining concepts that don’t have a physical nature to children is not easy. My kids knew what a tablet app is, so I decided that the best way to explain my job was to show them by developing an app together.
Where to get it
There is a free, android version of the app called Mathstuff TT (TT stands for times tables) available on the play store. It focuses on the times tables since they are a foundation for so much in maths. Also it has a nice compact scope for an initial version. Now that my kids are excited about it, we are working on a version with a lot more in it.
Since Mathstuff is aimed at children, most features are pretty clear, however some are not so obvious. Curious children will find them, however here is a list.
- On the profile screen, you can change your name by pressing the edit button or on the name itself.
- You can change your creature with the left/right arrows or simply by flinging the creature left/right.
- The menu is colour coded on the exercises so that a quick glance shows what you need to work on. This is the colour key:
- Black – an exercise that has never been completed
- Red – an exercise that has been completed with a best score of 1 star
- Amber – an exercise that has been completed with a best score of 2 stars
- Green – an exercise that has been completed with a best score of 3 stars (all questions answered correctly)
- The time taken to complete an exercise is compared to your best time and saved only when you answer all questions correctly. So you can’t beat the clock by speeding though questions without thinking.
- On the score screen, rotating the screen one way and the other will make you creature try out one move after another (my kids love this).