Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arithmaroo and You Too: An App Review

Picture from

Full Disclosure, I'm no good at Math. It has never been my strong suit and I currently eat lunch with the Math Department in the hope I can build enough credit to have them tutor my future children. :-) I ran across Arithmaroo on Twitter and they suggested I take a look at their Arithmaroo 1: A Counting Math Game for Kids app. As an English teacher, I wasn't sure what to expect from this app, but the @Arithmaroo people were so nice, I couldn't say no. Here are my thoughts on the app.

The app is a very simple game that allows up to 4 players and one guest to store scores and compare them with friends. The screen consists of a row of numbers and pictures that appear. The pictures might be rocks in various order or hands holding up fingers. Their might be multiple hands with different number of fingers or many rocks in various formations.The goal is too quickly count the objects on the screen and select the correct number. As time ticks down, the picture at the top changes from a Kangaroo (fastest), a Salamander (Fast) and a Turtle (The Nerdy Teacher Speed). The first level is fairly simple and focuses on numbers 1-5. It took me a couple of times to get straight Kangaroos, but I eventually got through it. 

Level 2 has 10 numbers and the combination of rocks and fingers intensifies. Again, this took me many tries, but eventually I made it to level 3. Level 3 brought me to a dark place as I tried to count objects in the allotted time up to 20. After stressing for 20 minutes, I was able to jump to level 4 where the total number goes to 50. That is where the level review ends because I have no idea what is beyond that and may never find out. I guess it is 75 or 100, but I'll need to ask one of my younger cousins to give it try and let me know how it goes.

I took a couple of days off from playing the app and went back and was surprised to see that I had an easier go of it the second time around. My responses were faster and I had more points than I did last time as well. I still could not get past level 4, but I felt that I was doing better. I was learning to identify patterns and identify quantity at a much faster pace. From that perspective, I would say the app is wonderful. If anything can improve my quick math skills,  think it's great.

As a high school English teacher, I can only guess how this would play in the Elementary Math classes. I think the fact that multiple students can store their scores on one app is great. It allows some nice competition amongst peers. Teachers could reward students for attaining certain levels and have class competitions if there are enough iPods to go around. Given time to play with this app, I can see that students would strengthen their Math skills. I have never been strong at looking at items and adding them up, but this app could help me grow in that area with continued use. 

 I think the timer moves a little too fast, but I think that is because I'm terrible at counting quickly. I did not encounter any glitches along the way. I tried selecting various wrong answers to see if it would freeze or shut down, but nothing happened. The clock stood that at turtle, mocking me, as it waited for me to eventually get the correct answer. I think it would be nice to see different images over time, but since I never made it past level 4, I'm not sure if there were others.

I think this would be a fun app to add to a class set of iPod Touches in Math classes or for personal use. The app looked great on the my iPad as well. Kids would strive to beat their previous best, their friends high scores and even their parents totals. For $1.99, I think it is a good buy if parents and/or teachers are looking at a fun way to help kids with their spatial math skills.

Thanks to Arithmaroo for talking me into this app because I will be recommending it to the teachers in my district. Great job and I look forward to seeing other great apps from you in the future.

Pictures from


  1. You are so nice to review Arithmaroo. Cute app, I think it will be a definite add for my iPad pilot program on the first grade devices.

  2. I designed Arithmaroo and I love your blow-by-blow description of using it! Thanks for your honesty about your struggles!
    My daughter Molly and I are designing a new version--We've broken it into 12 levels. It's hard to believe that groupings and countings can be divided into so many different levels. In the process of designing and testing Arithmaroo, we've discovered that gaining number sense is very complex. Number sense in the math standards is all about place value. But it's much much more and if people don't get it early, math is hard. We want to make it easy!


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