Getting girls interested in STEM subjects has become a goal of many schools and other educational programs. Mission: Math… Sabotage at the Space Station has also thrown its hat into the ring, attempting to get girls interested in math with games and practice opportunities geared just toward them. This game takes girls on a mission to complete missions within the various labs of the Space Station. As they work, they encounter a cast of unique characters designed to help them with their missions.
Despite a slightly confusing design and some lengthy explanation videos, girls will likely enjoy the missions which tackle more difficult math skills, such as identifying fractions, decimals, and percentages or solving place value puzzles.
- Avatar customization
- Different challenge levels
- Positive female role models
- Progress updates
- Helpful characters
While the animations, sounds, and overall concept give this app a quality feel, it could use a bit of re-design. Navigating the space station proves difficult, with labs not always clearly labeled. Just getting to the labs and games takes time, as kids must sit through lengthy explanations and character introductions. Making these elements more succinct could make the game move faster and help kids in faster.
The math challenges provide just that, a challenge. As kids solve problems, they get to see the skills in multiple ways. Problems also appear to increase in difficulty as kids play. For example, during a place value activity kids start with three digit place value, and then move to higher place values. The missions, however, do not match the math problems. For example, girls identify fractions to make pots of flowers drop and complete place value activities to save a puppy. It would be nice if the missions directly tied to the skill kids were asked to practice, such as correctly dividing a pizza to satisfy hungry aliens when practicing fractions, decimals, and percentages.
Kids will appreciate small elements of the game, such as being able to set up their own profiles with a customized avatar. They’ll also like feeling like they’re an important part of the team as they navigate the space station to complete missions. Unfortunately, the lengthy instructions and descriptions, as well as a confusing space station design, may keep some kids from returning.
A quality app with high-quality math practice opportunities, especially one focused on girls, can prove difficult to find. Because it has little competition, the price may be justified, but considering the design flaws, some parents may not feel their expectations were met.
The positive female role models make this a good choice for math practice, particularly for girls. Parents can rest assured their children will be safe within the app, not exposed to any outside advertisements, inappropriate language, or negative images. Characters guide kids as they play, helping them figure out what to do and, most of the time, where to go.
Spaced-themed math challenge makes up for design flaws with high-quality math practice opportunities geared toward girls.