My Dear Aunt Sally gets its name from the mnemonic device designed to help kids remember the order of operations, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” which is fitting because the order of operations is one skill this app covers. The app itself is designed to appeal to older children, particularly those in upper elementary school and middle school.
Educationally, the app is right on the mark, giving children plenty of opportunities to practice a variety of skills and presenting the content at multiple levels of difficulty. At first glance, however, the app may turn some children off because it looks like it is designed more for children in preschool or early elementary school.
- Four levels of difficulty
- Multiple skill categories
- Ability to customize practice
- Achievements to unlock
In terms of the content the app contains, it is very high quality. Children are provided with multiple ways to build their math skills and the content is well-organized, making it easy for them to locate the category and level of difficulty they need.
Appearance-wise, the app’s quality could stand to be improved. Graphics are not sharp and at times appear a little fuzzy. Animations are somewhat childish. However, the sound is clear and the sound effects are appropriate for the content of the app.
Rather than simply having children solve problems, the app presents the content to them in a unique way. For each game, they are given a set of numbers and must combine those numbers using the given operations to make two equal equations. For example, the app may provide the numbers 3, 2, 5, 0 and have children arrange them to make two equal equations using addition.
For each game, children are able to choose from four different levels of difficulty: easy. medium, hard and extreme. They can also choose to turn on five different operations: exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction.
For some children, the lack of instructions may be frustrating. However, since all of the games are very similar, once they figure it out, it will be easy to enjoy the rest of the app.
From the sound effects when children click on the different elements of the app to the stars that pop out at them when they get a correct answer, the app is entertaining. However, some elements of the app are not designed with older children in mind. For example, when children finish a quiz successfully and unlock an achievement, they get to play a simple card matching memory game, something better suited for a preschooler. The animated penguins, sheep and other characters are also a little young to be appealing to the age group the app appeals to most.
My Dear Aunt Sally contains a large amount of content. Because children can practice their skills at multiple levels of difficulty and using multiple operations, it is a great value. A workbook focusing on a single area that My Dear Aunt Sally covers would easily be double the price.
The app itself is easy to use, but it lacks instructions for the practice activities on the actual practice screens. However, the instructions are included in a help file if children take the time to click on it.
On the main menu, the second option is a link to “Buy More Game Types.” This is makes it easy for children to accidentally purchase more game categories and can become annoying for children who have already purchased and unlocked the games.