Kids touch, drag, and combine one or more dot and/or number bubbles to make food for a hungry guppy. The guppy eats just one kind of food, which is indicated on its side -- e.g., two dots, three dots, or the number 4. A well-fed guppy grows, and players move to the next level. An unfed, hungry guppy shrinks until kids are reminded “This fish only eats 4s.” There are three levels: dots, mixed dots and numbers, and numbers only. Kids can skip around if needed, and number hints can be turned off. At various points, kids earn rewards or magic beads they can use to change a guppy’s appearance.
Motion Math: Hungry Guppy is very good at teaching kids that a group of dots represents numbers. It also provides a hands-on method of teaching beginning addition.
The game features addition of sums up to 5. Strategic features anticipate where kids might go astray. Depending on which of the three levels your students are playing on, each fish displays its preferred food as dots, number symbols, or both. The pattern and color of dots on each fish is the same, which could tempt kids to choose bubbles because they match, not because they contain the right amount. But in harder levels, dots combine in different patterns and are different colors, teaching kids to focus on number instead of appearance
The game includes several smart features that take into account the habits of 3- to 7-year-olds:
- Touch and drag functions are simplified for smaller, less precise fingers.
- The number hints are spoken aloud; these can be turned off.
- There are no upsetting outcomes; kids win but never lose.
- Subtle visual and audio cues rein in kids who go rogue. Kids learn quickly that trying to make mega-food bubbles is futile and not very fun.
- A tutorial level launches at the beginning, meaning there's no waiting to play.
- The in-game rewards of collecting prizes or changing how the guppy looks don’t intrude on the educational aspect of the game.
Motion Math: Hungry Guppy is best used one-on-one by the student. This app could be part of an iPad rotation.
Teachers could create a fun game of passing out index cards with dotted bubbles and make one person the fish. Kids would have to join together to form groups that could then be eaten by the fish.