Multiplication is an important foundational mathematics skill, and one that many students struggle to master. Developing understanding of multiplication and strategies for multiplication within 100, is part of the Common Core standards for 3rd grade math in the U.S.A. Often students are encouraged to use flash cards to learn their multiplication facts by “drill and kill,” but this doesn’t help them really understand the concepts. Multiply Pizza Pie by Fizz Brain apps is a new Edapp that uses a different approach to teaching multiplication, without rote memorization. Multiply Pizza Pie has a restaurant theme and players practice their multiplication skills whilst serving food to diners in their restaurant. The app allows multiple student profiles and lets the player choose whether to work on x2345, x6789 or on multiples of any individual number from 2-9. The app contains both an animated tutorial and a video tutorial that explain how to use the app. Before they start serving food to their diners, players can select to read the “multiplication strategies.” This gives students skills they can use to work out the more difficult multiples using ones they may already know e.g. using knowledge of 2x to work out questions involving 3x.
The player is working in a restaurant and receives a food order e.g. the diner wants 5 pizzas each with 4 pepperoni on it. The player taps on the pizza 5 times to throw out the required number of pizzas, then taps on each pizza four times to get the right number of toppings. Once they have prepared the food they tap on “ready”. If they have made a mistake with the toppings the incorrect plate(s) are highlighted. Extra plates or toppings can be removed by swiping. Counting out the plates and tapping out the toppings add a tactile element to working out the equation that is similar to using manipulatives in the classroom.
When the order is correct they move to to making the guest check – to do this they have to create a multiplication sentence. The diner is charged $1 per topping so to calculate the check they multiply the number of plates by the number of toppings on each plate. If they do this correctly a check is created and they earn the money they have charged the customer, if it is incorrect they can try again until it is right.
They then serve the completed order in the restaurant by throwing the food to the customer. My son found this hilarious as he discovered he could also bounce the meals off the walls until it arrived at the customer. As the food is served the narrator counts the numbers of toppings served, so if 4 pizzas each with 6 toppings are delivered they would count 6,12,18,24 – further reinforcing multiples of 6.
The restaurant is initially unfurnished and players can use the money they earn from food sales to buy furniture, artwork, decorative features and accessories.
The players start only serving pizza in an Italian restaurant, but as they play they can unlock new toppings, new dishes and new restaurants . When they unlock a new restaurant they automatically start serving in it, and don’t have the option to go back to the previous restaurant. The new restaurant is a blank slate with none of the furnishing from the previous establishment. The restaurants currently in the app are: Italian, Japanese, Mexican, American, Middle Eastern, Chinese, French, Indian, Ethiopian, Polish and Fusion. Once they have unlocked all ten of the restaurants this allows free play mode and they can then choose which restaurant to use.
Having the restaurants to furnish is a fun reward, but I did find a few issues with it. The restaurant scene is quite small so gets crowded with furniture quickly, and there appears to be no way to remove old furniture to replace it with new choices. Because you can earn money quite quickly when practicing higher order multiples, you can run out of things to spend it on as you have no room to display new purchases. However, the money does transfer so you can use it to decorate your new restaurant when you unlock it. I also found that sometimes moving a piece of furniture caused it to duplicate, so you could have 3 identical paintings and 4 identical tables which could be frustrating when you have only a small place to decorate.
The app records which group of multiples the student worked on for a particular date e.g [x2345], [x7], [x6789] and how many problems they did for each set. This can be viewed as a daily, weekly or monthly report, which can be emailed to a teacher or parent. Because the app uses errorless learning there is no indication of “right” or “wrong” answers (the student has to complete it correctly to be able to finish the problem). There is also no indication of whether they got the multiplication sentence correct on the first try or if they needed multiple attempts. The reports are useful to show what the student has been working on, but won’t give any indication or whether or not they have mastery of that multiple.
Multiply Pizza Pie is a great introduction to multiplication as it helps develop the players number sense as they physically tap out the plates and toppings. It helps to turn the abstract concept of a multiplication equation into real life by relating them to food orders. The app uses multiple senses as the student hears the order, feels the numbers as they tap out the toppings and sees the problem as a written sentence, a maths equation and as physical objects. I like the fun cartoon-like illustrations and how all the gameplay ties into the restaurant theme as students see real-life applications for using maths skills. This app would be very useful for students just starting to learn multiplication and for students with special needs or others who need some extra help in really understanding multiplication. My daughter is almost at the end of 3rd grade and has been working on learning multiplication this school year, I wish the app had been available at the start of the school year as I think she would have picked up the concepts more quickly. At this point in time she knows most of her multiplication facts within 100 but just needs more practice to know them 100%. At the stage she is at the gameplay was a little slow for her, but what she found really useful was the strategies for using familiar multiples to work out more difficult ones. After playing the app I have seen her using these strategies to solve problems and even teaching them to her brother, and that alone is more than worth the cost of the app!
iTunes Link: Multiply Pizza Pie – FIZZBRAIN LLC
Multiply Pizza Pie
by FIZZBRAIN LLC
Price: $2.99 USD
Multiply Pizza Pie is a super fun math game that helps children master multiplication facts while building strong number sense! It is the OPPOSITE of "drill and kill"!
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).