I’ve reviewed several Montessori based apps in the past but this may be the first that is centered only on one of the Montessori Math materials – the beads. I happen to like the focus here and found it to be a very effective way of teaching addition and subtraction. None of my children have gone through Montessori schools so I’m not very familiar with their teaching methods. I was learning right along with the app.
Montessori Bead Facts Plus Minus presents addition and subtraction problems. Children will use beads to represent the numbers in the math problems and manipulate them to work out the solutions. There are different bead bars for the numbers 1-10, each is a different color which makes it easy to identify them after a little practice. Once children have worked through the problem with the beads they will use a keypad to enter the number that solves the problem. A “Show Me” button demonstrates how to solve the problem, children can watch as the beads are placed and moved on screen for that particular problem. It’s a great way to check your answer but it’s also a helpful way to see how to use the app if you’re unfamiliar with what to do.
In the app’s settings parents can determine which numbers will be used and whether or not subtraction or addition problems will be presented. Parents can also create their own custom problems for their children. This is a nice feature. I do have a few suggestions, just in regards to making the app more user friendly. When children complete a problem they’ll receive a green checkmark if they solved it correctly. At that point they (or you if you are helping) must tap a “New” button to advance to the next problem. This button is at the top right of the screen. My suggestion is to either make the transition to a new problem automatic (this is what I expected to have happen) or make the new button stand out more. It took me a minute to figure out that is where I needed to tap. My next suggestion would be to include a tutorial that appeared the first time someone used the app. Something that demonstrated how to use the app, for those who are new to Montessori like myself. The help section is nice but I think information with visuals, or even a “show me” example would be beneficial. Lastly, it can be a little tricky to place some of the beads. Especially the “one” bead. I found that I had to place it in just the right spot to get it to stay put. If there’s a way to make that easier on children I think it would be helpful.
Overall I really do like Montessori Bead Facts Plus Minus. Once I got the hang of using the beads I could definitely see the benefit of learning how to add and subtract this way. It makes sense. The app is simple, there are no extra sound effects or animations and I liked that. I think it fits in well with the nature and focus of the app. I’d definitely recommend this one for those looking for Montessori learning apps.
Price when Reviewed: $1.99
Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.