Parents need to know that Vegetable Maths Masters is a math app that arose out of an effort to get kids to make healthier eating choices.
Made by Professionals
It stems from a research project at Aston College or university that studies ways to increase kids’ fascination with eating vegetables. In this case, they integrated vegetables into a mathematics experience. The application uses British English which young (American) kids might struggle to understand.
Eat the vegetables and learn
You can find alternate words/spellings such as “maths” for “math” and “aubergine” for eggplant. There aren’t many directions or support and small children will need help knowing what to do, especially as some of the prompts are only in writing. By the end of each game kids are returned to a screen that reads, “How old are you?” before being able to choose a new activity.
Vegetable Maths Masters!
VEGETABLE MATHS MASTERS starts by asking kids, “How old are you?” Kids can choose from 3 age groupings (3-4 years, 5-6 years, and 7+ years). The youngest grouping has two activities: number tracing and counting activity. The middle grouping has both of those, as well as keeping track of/number matching, more counting, and addition (kids could solve through keeping track of). The last grouping adds on multiplication, division, and fractions. All of the games involve vegetables such as peas, corn on the cob, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant (called aubergine), broccoli, and mushrooms. As the in-game character types receive their veggies, they exclaim things like, “Broccoli is tasty!” and “Cauliflower is SO good!”
Kids earn celebrities for each correct answer given. The superstars can be used to buy vegetable heroes. Kids can dress the personas and buy additional clothes.
This math game was designed to encourage kids to eat more vegetables and that’s exactly what it feels like. While made with only the best intentions, the mash-up of nutrition and mathematics doesn’t seem to offer enough clarity or focus on either topic.
Vegetable Maths Masters has a some variety, but the math feels secondary. There’s no prompting for kids who make repeated mistakes and no support to help kids master new skills.
The number tracing activity is finicky and doesn’t allow any room for kids who draw the parts of amounts in a different order. Some of the video games in the 7+ category require skills that kids won’t learn until they are 8 or 9 years old (within the United States).
There is no way to specify which skills are available for kids. Some kids will love dressing up the vegetables, but each one has only one set of clothes and many of the accessories need a lot of in-game currency to unlock (i.e. 50 stars, or mathematics questions answered, for a pair of sun glasses).
If you want to encourage your kids to consume more vegetables, this may be worth a shot, but there are just stronger math games available.
Families can talk about vegetables in general and the ones in Veggie Maths Experts. What kinds of vegetables does your family eat? Which ones are your favorites? Go to the market and choose a fresh veggie to try together.
Families can discuss learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why, or why not? What can you learn?