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Math Climber HD by John Crandall is a universal app for iOS that focuses on core math skills via a question and answer format where you test your math skills as you climb up a 70 foot indoor climbing wall either against yourself or against another climber.  You can practice problems at your own pace in the “fitness room” and once you master skills move out to the floor for real climbing.  There are 18 different topics to choose from – and the more questions you answer correctly the more coins you can earn.  Once you earn coins you can customize the avatar with different items like clothing, hair and glasses.  The app also includes a progress report which keeps track of the questions you have answered correctly or incorrectly as well as allowing you to choose which specific topics to focus on.

Topics include:

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication , Division, Place Value, Customary Measurement, Metric Measurement, Greatest Common Factor

Least Common Multiple, Negative Numbers (+ -), Negative Numbers (x /)

Order of Operations, Fractions- Adding, Fractions- Subtracting, Fractions- Multiplying, Fractions- Dividing, Percents and Decimals, Area, Perimeter, Volume and are selected prior to climbing the wall.  There are three different levels to choose from as well as the types of problem to focus on.

I love the sports theme of the app.  It encourages kids to practice math via a drill style that helps with competitive nature and retention of information rather than just memorizing what they have learned. The progress report is also helpful to see what areas I might need to help my son focus on more.  My son enjoyed setting time records as a “racer” rather than doing the problems and going head to head.  The progress report lets you see what areas your kids are working on and how fast they are doing it with accuracy.  I liked the missed problems so I could see the areas that I needed to help my son focus on.

In terms of enhancements, I do wish the app would dynamically adjust if a person was getting a lot of problems wrong.  Currently when you get a wrong answer you “fall” off the wall and have three tries before the level makes you start over.  This can be frustrating at times for kids who want to succeed – I went in and just picked one item that I wanted my son to focus on in order to help him be successful.  The graphics were fun – but I would have liked to see the motion of the climber as you played head to head within the app.  It felt a little artificial with the way the joints moved.  I would also like to see the ability to play the app on one device and then on another device using the same player profile rather than having to start over again.  He also got a little discouraged if he got one answer wrong – and had to restart the level again – perhaps there is a way to turn off the wrong answers or give a few extras for kids focusing on a specific type of skill.

Math drills made fun.  The multiple types of problems (18), variety of climbing walls and progress report made this a fun sports themed math app for my son.  He became more confident with his skills and drills which enabled him to perform better during timed quizzes at school.