Operation Math Code Squad or just Code Squad as we refer to at KinderTown (yes, we play with the apps long after they are selected for our app store) is designed for up to four players and builds intentionally on teamwork. Don’t worry, you can also fly solo.
There are 21 missions with 3 skill levels. Many options are available which makes this an easy to use customized game. Settings include all math operations, which can be selected to appear individually, or as part of a mix of operations.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to work together as a team, solving math problems to disarm math-busting devices. The team must be quick, yet careful while trying to disarm the device. This is where the teamwork comes in! You want everyone to be successful because after 5 errors your fellow agent becomes disqualified and puts the whole team at risk. If you succeed the teams get a victory message from Agent Prime, which has a spy-themed feel.
With multiple kids on the device, you’ll hear encouragement and plenty of math talk emerge. One struggle we had was confusing the numbers 9 and 6, which you often have to read upside down making them hard to distinguish quickly. Make sure to point this out to your kids before jumping into the game.
Activity 1: Ghosts and Goblins
What You’ll Need:
• Uncooked white navy beans (about 1 cup)
• Plastic container
• Pencil & paper
Take the dried, white navy beans and using a marker, apply eyes (2 dots) on one side of each bean to make a ghost. The other (blank) side becomes a goblin. Add a few beans into the container for young kids and add more for kids with more advanced math knowledge. A five year old might use 5 beans, while an eight year old could use twenty. Once the beans are in the container, shake & roll.
The goal of the game is for your child to figure out how many different number combinations make 5. Each goblin and ghost counts as 1.
If you have 8 beans and you roll 5 goblins and 3 ghosts, then some possible combinations are:
• 0 ghosts and 5 goblins (0+5)
• 1 ghosts and 4 goblins (1+4)
• 2 goblins and 3 ghosts (2+3)
• 3 goblins and 2 ghosts (3+2)
…you see the pattern here?
If your kids are using operation signs in school this is a good time to have them document their findings. For older children they can even subtract the smallest ghost or goblin from the largest ghost.
Activity 2: Grady Ghost’s Halloween Party
Often children who are not ready for formal introduction to multiplication will be ready for informal multiplication. This game is all about informal multiplication. (but also good for kids who love to draw stick figures)
Draw four characters on a piece of paper (no need to get fancy).
If you are extra creative, here are a few suggestions:
• Grady Ghost
• Zee Zombie
• Vicki Vampire
• Wendy Witch
Set the plot: Grady (or what ever character you choose) needs enough food to throw a celebration for himself and 3 of his friends.
“Grady wants everyone to have 3 eyeballs as hord’overs. Can you tell Grady how many eyeballs he needs to get at the Dungeon Deli?“
• Model or support your child to draw 3 eyeballs next to each guest.
“How many glasses of blood for each?”
• Draw as many blood cocktails as your child chooses in front of each guest.
“How many glasses of blood will he need to purchase?”
• Some children count by ones while another might count by 5’s.
“Now Grady needs 12 monkey guts dipped in chocolate.”
• Again have the child add to the drawing.
Add some extra challenge: “Grady wants to share them equally with his friends. How many will each receive?”
Perhaps your child needs some assistance. Langauge like: “Now, one at a time draw a line from each gut to each guest. Keep going until you have given away all the guts. Then count how many guts each guests receives.” will help your child work through the problem.
To solve problems like this your child will have added and counted. He will not multiply or divide yet, but the story is preparing your child to think about multiplication and division. A few years from now when his teacher shows him how to organize 3 eyeballs to 4 party guests as 3×4=12, or 12 monkey guts shared by 4 guests as 12/4 =3, he may find this concept easier to understand.