App of the Week: Helping learn big numbers

Carrot-and-stick arithmetic app makes students fluent in regrouping.

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

The purpose of DragonBox Big Numbers is for students to practice their addition and subtraction skills with large numbers, but it is packaged in a goal-oriented game where students build a world for creatures called Nooms. Students can explore and play, collect resources, exchange for other resources, and build houses for the Nooms, all while learning how to manipulate the big numbers through addition, subtraction, and regrouping. With many hours of gameplay and no reading required, the app engages students in a series of enticements to collect and trade for enough resources to unlock new areas. There are six worlds to explore, 10 resources to collect and trade, and four Noom houses to build.

Price: $7.99

Grades: 1-4

Rating: 4/5

Pros: A very tactile game with intrinsic motivation and extensive addition/subtraction practice.

Cons: Sometimes it’s more game than learning, and vigorous tapping can cause students to accidentally exchange resources.

Bottom line: Hopelessly addictive addition/subtraction app keeps students learning and learning.

Meris Stansbury

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