Bottom Line: A beefed-up version of a skill and drill math worksheet, but better. Includes lots of options that allow parents to customize math fact sheets to meet a child's needs. Best of all, it can be played by a single player or by two kids.
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From the developers at Ellieâs Games comes Math Duel, a two-person math skills game. Do you have a child or two who needs practice their math facts? Then this app is for you! Math Duel is like a beefed-up version of a boring skill and drill math worksheet, but better. There are so many options that allow you to customize the math facts to meet your childâs needs. Best of all, it can be played by a single player or two children.
For example, I have a 6-year-old who needs to practice basic addition up to 12. In the settings, I can set the largest number possible to 12. Then I can select addition and the amount of time allowed for each problem. As he grows in his skills, I can also increase the number of terms to 3 or 4. This is great and all, but I also have a 9-year-old who needs to review her multiplication facts. For most apps, this would be a problem, but not for Math Duel. I can set my daughterâs settings separate from my son's. Now, both kids can play against each other even though they are working on very different skills. For a mom, this is great! As a added bonus, users can customize the color for their side, and there are lots of colors to choose from!
Once the game begins, the app is a split screen so that the children face each other and work at the same time. Each end of the screen looks like a calculator with the numbers and a few other choices such as settings, enter, decimal points and a -/+ sign. This app is very basic â no bells and whistles. There are no cute characters encouraging you or silly noises when you get an answer wrong. Rather, it is straight up math practice. As the children play each other, a thin multi-colored stripe between the two screens shifts as correct answers are given. It begins as a 50-50 split between the two colors, but will shift as a child moves ahead in the game. Interestingly, my 9-year-old competitive daughter did not notice the scoring stripe until I pointed it out to her.
I asked two 9-year-olds, a boy and a girl, to try this app out together. After I got their settings ready and they picked their colors, they were off. Well, the girl loved this app. She wanted to beat her buddy and she was focused and working hard. The boy was obviously disinterested during the game. After he was done he told me that it felt too much like school, and math is his least favorite subject. Plus, he said he doesnât like to compete. Obviously, this app may be more successful with children who enjoy competition and math.
There are a few things I would change if I could with this app. When you get an answer wrong, the incorrect answer stays and you have to delete it. I kept forgetting, and would type the correct answer in addition to the incorrect answer, and would then get it wrong â again! I wish the incorrect answer would disappear after the attempt. Secondly, while being able to set the individual settings is excellent, there are a few instances where I couldnât do what I wanted to do. When you select the largest answer, it is the largest answer that will be in the problem, but not the answer. For addition and multiplication, this is fine. But it isnât as useful for subtraction and division. For example, when I selected division, I wanted to let my daughter work on division facts that mirrored the multiplication facts she had just learned (up through the 12 times tables). But when I selected numbers up to 100, it did not just stick to âeasyâ division. Instead, it asked her questions such as 26 divided by 23 or 27 divided by 13. This was frustrating to both of us.
Overall, this is a colorful basic math practice app that can engage two players at different levels. I would recommend it for those looking for competitive opportunities for children to practice a variety of math problems.