Reviewed by Grace
loopy! by loopy! is the digital version of the trusty math counters that are used in every preschooler’s home and classroom, to explore basic math concepts – numerals, addition and subtraction. Here, the counters take the form of bright red pebbles which will never get lost and you can choose to work with as many pebbles as you wish yet it takes you just a push of a button to clear all of them. And no storage is needed too, how neat!
With a quirky name like loopy! you would think that this is a game app with lots of animations and sounds but upon opening it, you will be struck by its minimalist look – a work space with a red (master) pebble, a numeral and 4 little icons which together form the menu at the bottom of the page, perfect for kids who are easily distracted by the bells and whistles. Instructions for using the app are just as simple:-
- There are 3 math activities in this app – Numeral, Addition and Subtraction.
- To create pebbles, touch and drag from the master pebble to the work space, one at a time.
- To remove any pebble, simply flick it off the work space. (Warning! Your child may enjoy the flicking too much!)
- To know how many pebbles are there, trace a circle/loop around the pebbles and the number will appear next to the loop.
- To remove any loop from the work space, just double tap it to keep the work space neat. It can get messy as your child explores by drawing loops after loops around different groups of pebbles.
- To check if you have rounded up the correct number of pebbles (asked by the app), tap on the green arrow. If correct, the pebbles will turn into wildly happy smiley faces. If incorrect, they become sad. (loopy! is a quiet app, save for the sounds made by these smiley faces.)
- Hints will appear each time you begin on a new math activity (counting/addition/subtraction) or when the app senses that the student is having difficulties proceeding.
Watch this video to see how the counting activity is done. Instead of creating the correct number of pebbles asked by the app and then looping around them to check the answer, a younger student may benefit from the reverse sequence. By making a loop first and dragging the pebbles into the loop, one at a time, he gets to see how the number becomes bigger as the quantity of pebbles increases. This automatic counter is a useful tool for visualizing the concept of numbers and quantities. You can also challenge your child (as he gets better) by stopping him midway and asking him how many more pebbles he needs to add up to the required number. Or how many pebbles he needs to flick away when he has created too many.
Addition and Subtraction
The addition and subtraction activities help the student to visualize simple calculations in terms of combining and removing groups of pebbles. By physically manipulating the pebbles and grouping/regrouping them under the guidance of an adult, a student begins to understand concretely the relationship between these 2 math concepts.
I like that the quantities taught in this app begin with ’0′ (zero) and not ’1′ like in some other apps. Another feature I wish to highlight is that each of the 3 activities start with questions involving numbers less than 5, and once the student gets three correct answers, he begins to get questions with numbers up to 9.
- Option to shuffle the questions in the app.
- Ability to choose the range of numerals to work on so that a younger child can start with even smaller numbers and have only 1 new numeral to learn.
- Include questions that involve bigger numbers (beyond 9) so that the app can grow with the student’s ability.
- Inclusion of the equal sign (=) and answers to complete the addition and subtraction equations when the student gets the correct answer.
- A reporting system that shows the student’s progress and the areas in which he needs help.
- A free-play work space where the teacher can use the app to teach his own lessons and where the student can work out his answers to questions given outside of the app.
I find that loopy! is a straightforward and effective hands-on learning app for helping young students build a strong foundation in basic math concepts – numerals/quantity, addition and subtraction. If you use any form of physical manipulatives for teaching math, this app is for you.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Cost: $0.99 (7.1 MB)
Please use our App Store button above if you decide to buy this app. It doesn’t cost any extra and a small portion of the cost goes to support the work we do here at The iMums! Pricing was correct at the time of publishing the review but is subject to change so please confirm before downloading.
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A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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