Once upon a time there was a little boy who really did not like math. He struggled to understand it and really didn’t see why learning it was important. His mom and teachers were at their wits end! How could they help him learn to love math and see the value in learning it? Then one day, a magical thing happened. A very creative app developer decided to combine well-known and loved fairy-tales with math creating a fun and entertaining way to practice math facts. Suddenly math was fun! Suddenly it was easy to find ways to apply math skills to real situations and it actually seemed useful! Suddenly Jack and the Beanstalk – A Mathematical Adventure was released and moms and teachers everywhere rejoiced!
Okay, maybe that isn’t a completely true story but I would bet that there are several families out there who can relate. Math is often one of the most challenging subjects for kids to learn and learn to love. Now, in this fun fairy-tale adventure, kids can practice skills such as addition, subtraction, time, counting, money, geometry and multiplication as they read a-long with this classic story. The story and illustrations are so engaging that children will almost forget that they are doing math as they complete each exercise.
This version of Jack and the Beanstalk follows the original fairy-tale very closely. The developers have done a fabulous job integrating ways to practice math into the story that are fun and seem more like mini-games than math problems. For example, when Jack meets the old beggar woman with the magic beans, you must count out the money he must give her to purchase the beans. When Jack wakes up and finds the beanstalk growing in his yard, you must drag the beanstalk along a ruler to measure how tall it is. When Jack chops down the beanstalk, you must estimate how many chops with the axe it will take to bring it down. Each time your child re-starts the story, the basic math problems remain the same, but the numbers change so you can practice the skills over and over again.
Jack and the Beanstalk – A Mathematical Adventure truly is an ingenious app. By using a fairy-tale as the basis for the app, the developer has instantaneously made math fun. The story format makes the math problems seem more like activities or games within the story and I really feel like kids may not even realize they are doing math as they complete the exercises. As a parent, I also appreciate how the story presents the math concepts as “story problems” which gives your child the opportunity to think through the scenario. I think this is such an important skill to have and an integral part of helping children realize the “real-life” applications for math. For teachers, if you have access to iPads in your classroom, this would be a wonderful app to use in a Math Center or even as a whole class activity on your smart board. I truly hope that the developers expand on this idea and come up with even more fairy-tale based math apps. Anyone who can make math fun and exciting for my kids gets a high-five from me!