Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

MegaPro Calculator 5000

MegaPro Calculator 5000

Fall 2016 Mobile Apps
Ages: 6 - 8 yrs.
Platform: iPad

MegaPro Calc 5000 is a simple addition-and-subtraction calculator for children who are just branching into place-value math. Players create a math problem (of up to four digits per numeral) or let the app choose a problem for them; then the app creates a visual representation of that problem, using tiny beads, columns of beads, squares of columns, and cubes built of squares to show the increased value of each column in the problem.

In addition, players can slide the beads into the solution boxes, causing the result to appear with a light-saber "whoosh!" on the numeric scratchpad. If there is an overflow, players will need to carry the new grouping of beads to the next column. In subtraction, players can, if they wish, tap on the subtrahend (which contains empty boxes instead of beads) to drop beads from the minuend into the boxes, leaving only the difference; alternatively, players can still simply slide the beads and boxes to the solution boxes. If the subtraction requires borrowing, the app plays a warning sound as a reminder; the player then slides beads from the next column to provide enough to subtract, as the app simultaneously shows the borrowing on the numeric scratchpad.

Learners who are really enjoying the newness of borrowing and carrying may have a lot of fun seeing the operations carried out visually. However, this is potentially not the best app for a reluctant learner; it is far too easy to passively solve problems without engaging in any real thought. As a free app, though, it cannot hurt for parents or teachers to give this a try; there are almost as many learning styles as there are children, and for some, this could be just the right fit. Choosing an option of "none, tasteful or truly gratuitous," the entertaining sound effects will please many children, as will the satisfaction of seeing the solution flash into place.

Emily Crawford   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
The Megapro Foundation
Available on iTunes

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