CONCEPT: Develop math skills as well as an undertanding of enterprise through an engaging simulation of a cupcake business.
DELIVERY:Last year I used Motion Math Pizza as a part of an annual enterprise project with Year 6 students to great effect. You can actually read all about that over on the Motion Math blog as I wrote a guest article for them.
So when they got in touch to let me know about a follow up app in the same vein, I was definitely eager to give it a spin. Knowing that Motion Math apps are always top quality in terms of delivery, I fully expected it to be slick - the question was would it build on the successes of Pizza or just replicate them? Could it be that often elusive sequel that trumped the original?
Let's start with what IS similar to the previous app - there was a lot to love about it after all!
As with Motion Math Pizza, you can design your own products to sell, buying goods from various vendors and setting your own price. Depending on the cost per cake, this informs your profit margin and is itself an incredibly improtant learning concept that you could base entire lessons round! You still have to choose the best purchase price for ingredients and compare varying ratios of goods/cost and you still need to monitor your resources to ensure that you don't run out of essentila ingredients.
So far so good but Motion Math have cranked things up a notch here and this is where things get really interesting...
Unlike the timed calculations, serving customers in Pizza, you can take your time taking customers orders in Cupcake. This is good as the types of orders are more comples - incorporating fractions and various elements of worded problem solving. It should be noted that you don't actually focus on the price here - rather the amount of cakes ordered.
The clock starts running when you move on to the delivery stage, zipping around the city on your bike (at least until you earn enough to upgrade to a vehicle) and dropping off your cakes. The inspired thing about this though is that the criss-crossing streets form a grid and you are assigned grid references for the drop off points. These escalate from single digits to x,y coordinates and eventually spread into four quadrants with negative numbers in the mix too.
This leads nicely to my final point - the progressive differentiation in Cupcake is superb. The way concepts are developed steadily across the 40 day game-span makes them engaging but never overwhelming and just when you think you have it all mastered, another twist takes things to a new level. Motion Math really are the masters of this type of educational progession and Cupcake cements this brilliantly. The way that you unlock more and more ingredients and thus the potential to boost profits further also adds to the desire to complete the next challenge that awaits.
LIMITATIONS: Not much really. The game is quite long - 40 in-game days - so you may find that you need more than one teaching session if you wanted to get the most out of the app in the classroom. It could also be a little clearer when and where you go to upgrade the oven and vehicles (though in fairness they are right next to the shop!)
CONCLUSION: There really aren't enough apps that help young learners develop enterprise skills. Motion Math now has two of the very best. Another excellent release from this ever-reliable developer.5/5
Develop mental maths skills
Develop understanding of coordinates
Develop understanding of ratio and proportion
Understand the basics of running a business
Develop understanding of simple enterprise skills like costing