Math Climber HD by John Crandall is a math skill-building app that has a kid’s sense of adventure and fun in mind while practicing basic math facts. This app was developed by math teachers, to help kids learn their basic math facts on an automatic level so that information is readily accessible rather than trying to cipher or figure it out over time. Taking time when needing to recall basic information results in a loss of relevance to the here and now, and places kids later in life on the spot. Say for example, when ordering food – do they have enough money to get a burger AND fries?…Did they buy enough paint to cover the walls in their room?…or Do they have enough gas in the car to get their friends home? And because math teachers made this app, they cover it all. There are 18 different topics that are detailed, and this app will supply variants in practice for years. The bonus is that BECAUSE the developers are math teachers, they have also worked out the ratio or probability of fun vs. work perfectly and they can most probably write you the equation for it too.
On opening, enter the name of the player then make up an avatar. By successfully completing the math segments, the avatar can be updated by earning coins and stars; so don’t be too fussy at first. Select a level and a topic, and you are off. Get some practice under your belt in the fitness room, which preps and alerts through practice in the chosen area. Once the practice has been completed, you are ready for the big time events of climbing walls, speed climbing, or speed climbing – racing against an opponent. The practice room doesn’t have you pitted against a clock, but there is plenty of feedback if you are delayed in your answer or dawdling. It is just hilarious to hear the avatar sounding out in the gym with effort while working out those mental muscles when answering questions. There is no penalty for being fast or slow in the fitness room, but it does serve as a nice warm-up to get kids alert and ready for math. Accuracy is the key. When playing a topic’s higher levels, speed does matter, and that is what helps take math facts from being rote to automatic and ready for recall when needed.
The 18 topics in math have 3 levels of difficulty. Here they are listed in order:
The first of the challenges outside the fitness room is climbing walls. There are 24 challenges to complete each level…with the wall getting progressively higher with more problems to solve. If you get 100%, your Avvie does a victory dance, which is pretty entertaining. In “Speed Climbing” – solo, your skills are put to the test, choose 5, 10, or fifteen problems, and battle the clock. This game not only challenges your knowledge but also your ability to mentally shift gears and be flexible. This is not as easy as it looks. All questions must be answered correctly to finish the climb and get a star. Stars are awarded for accuracy of questions answered.
Data collection on individuals can be viewed or emailed, which is a nice feature for targeting lessons or having something tangible to show parents around conference times. It can be found under the info icon on the home page. Kids can also access the progress, which is a nice feature as that teaches taking responsibility for their own learning to some degree. Lastly, kids can play “Speed Climbing” – racing. Pair off against an opponent and see who climbs the wall the fastest. Fun, fun, fun!
The graphics are surrealistic, meaning some of the anatomical positions of the climbers appear a bit off, but I am generally pleased with its visual appeal given the focus is on solving problems. The sound effects are superb. I do like that Math Climber HD is kid directed and the kids can view their progress – as so many apps do not have this feature or it’s placed behind a parental gate. It is an app that would be welcome in any classroom, and will last for years given the extent of its content. It’s a TWA Top Pick and one to check out for your classroom or family.