Stick with me for a moment while I discuss a study done by a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that measured mathematical abilities and gender inequalities. In countries, such as India, where gender equality is low, there is a low percentage of females scoring high in the International Mathematical Olympiad (an international math competition).
In the United States where gender equality is relatively high, girls score equally as well as boys on standardized math tests. However, more boys are identified as mathematically gifted than girls. The professor that did the study said that there is a gender stereotype where parents and teachers believe boys are smarter than girls when it comes to math.
Come on folks! That was the attitude back in the day when I was in school. Why hasn’t it changed over the last half of a century, huh?
I think it behooves parents — and especially mothers and grandmothers — to nurture their daughters into believing they are just as mathematically capable as boys. We should do everything in our power to make sure our daughters and granddaughters don’t grow up thinking they can’t do math.
So with that, I would like to introduce you to Grow Your Garden, an app for the iPhone and iPad, that helps children develop their math and their critical thinking skills.
Grow Your Garden, by the folks at Learning Yard, is a delightful game. The player gets watering cans to water various types of gardens – a regular home garden, a desert garden, a tropical jungle garden, and a snow garden.
There are flowers trying to grow in a pot. The flower needs watering. You have watering cans and a well where you can fill up your watering can. (See the picture below.)
See how the flower pot has ’empty’ droplets of water on them? You have to count them up and determine how much water you need. Then, you fill the appropriate bucket at the well by dragging it to the well. Then, you drag the bucket over to the flower pot to water the flower. When you have correctly ‘filled’ the water requirements, the flower blooms and you go to the next flower (math problem).
If you make a mistake, a frowny cloud floats over the flower pot and zaps a couple bolts of lightening. Then you can try once again with the math problem.
Of course as you progress, the math problems get harder. And, you have to think more about how to solve it. The snow garden, which is the last level, requires some hefty thinking skills.
Children who know how to add and subtract can easily learn how to play the game. But children starting in the third grade might be able to complete the higher levels of the game better than younger children.
I highly recommend this game — especially if you have granddaughters. It only costs $0.99 and it is money well spent. Since Christmas is just around the corner, buy it for a grandchild for Christmas — assuming your grandchild’s family has an iPhone or an iPad. Buy it for your own iPhone or iPad so that when your grandchildren come for a visit, you can share it with them and help them develop their math skills.
I give this app 5 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this application. However, it did not influence my opinion of the product.