At first glance, 3rd Grade Math Common Core from Math Galaxy doesn’t look very exciting. The app design isn’t very exciting and it appears a bit dated. However, if you can look beyond the exterior and get into the content, you’ll find an app that is full of math practice activities for students. All of the content in the app has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards and is well-organized, so students can easily get to the skills they need to practice. The questions are presented in a simple format, but they offer an easy way to get students to practice their math skills every day.
Organized by skill
Interactive math games
While this app is full of content, its design holds it back from being truly exceptional. The format of the app feels a bit clunky and dated. The app uses a general platform of tables and frames to organize the concept. It doesn’t contain any fancy graphics, text, or sound effects. It’s all focused on math. Students can easily navigate throughout the different topics and answer the questions, but may feel a bit confused if they want to go back (the app only offers a quit button to return to the previous menu). In the review portions, students may also find the app to be a bit cluttered. Text appears in a small box on the bottom lefthand screen, while the visual components are in the larger upper box with tons of white space around them. Teachers can also supposedly record scores for up to 5 students, but figuring out how to set up student names and actually record the scores is a very confusing process. It should also be noted that while the app is designed to work on all devices, the design makes it difficult to use on a smartphone. The bigger the screen, the better.
In their descriptions, developers note that this app was not designed to be entertaining. The focus of the app is education, particularly helping build third grade math skills. Students will find practice questions and activities in the main areas of the Common Core standards: Numbers in Base 10, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Fractions, Measurement and Data, and Geometry. Within each area, the practice opportunities are broken down into subareas. For example, students who select Operations & Algebraic Thinking can work on multiplication tables, 1-digit multiplication, missing numbers, part of a group, 1-digit divisor, word problems, and patterns. Each section also comes with a general review which is presented as either a video or a slideshow within the app.
Developers note that the concepts are presented in bite-size pieces and include visual elements to reinforce the concepts. While this is true, the design of the app keeps these elements from being truly effective. Students are likely to gloss over the visual images and may feel that even in the bite-size sections, the text can be somewhat heavy, especially in the review activities.
In addition to the ability to learn about different areas, students can also opt to play one of three math games: Bridge the Swamp, The Money Trail, and Labyrinth. The Money Trail and Bridge the Swamp offer 1-player and 2-player modes, while the Labyrinth can only be played after earning robots for answering questions in the individual lessons.
This app is not being rated for entertainment.
Those who purchase the app will find that it’s full of content, with a large amount of information and practice questions for each topic. The app works well as a supplement for a standard math textbook and may be worth a download for teachers who want to work additional practice problems into the classroom, particularly if they can display the app on an interactive whiteboard or other enlarged surface during instruction.
The app has been designed to keep the focus solely on the math. Students have access to the scoring screen that is designed for teachers and could potentially update or delete scores within the app, but they’re not likely to figure out how to do it. Otherwise, the app is free from ads, external links, and other content designed to take students’ focus away from the content.