A lot of us grew up playing Snakes and Ladders as children. Now, our students can do the same on the iPad. With this app (free, US app link, Not in the US: Click here), you can pin up to four groups against each other in class with it projected to the big screen. This is a great way for children to practice their numbers. Since I teach French as a Second Language, this is a fun and interactive way to orally review the numbers 1-100. I play this game on one iPad, and display it on the large screen for the class to see.
There are plenty of versions of Snakes and Ladders in the App store. I tried a few of the free ones, but what I particularly like about this particular version is that:
- it’s free (there is a small inobtrusive banner of ads at the bottom which can be removed by purchasing the $.99 ad-free version).
- the animations are crisp.
- the rolling of the dice has an authentic scrolling feel, so students have a sense of anticipation when it scrolls.
- the sounds effects are fun.
An added feature to this app is an optional math question when a team lands on a ladder or a snake. If correct, you will either climb the ladder or not slide down the snake. This is found in Settings. They only give you a limited amount of time to answer the questions, and I found it to be too little time to have anyone answer, let alone tap in the correct response in time. This feature will be fine if students are playing on their own iPads, but probably not as a class. To remove this, just choose “Disable Questions”.
Here is a sample question in the easy category
(only five seconds to answer):
How I play as a class:
When a team lands on a number, students on that team raise their hands. I try to choose a variety of students, and then they tell me the corresponding number in French. If they are correct, they receive an extra point for their team. I keep an side tally of those points and make that a separate competition. Mispronounced numbers result in half the points, while incorrect numbers result in zero points.
The kids get super excited when they land on a ladder, and a but upset when they land on a snake. I reinforce the fact that it is just a game, and that it is for fun and for review as well. Kids are respectful of the other team and will not get angry if they are not on the winning team. When a team finally hits 100, I can see a sense of accomplishment from their faces. If the games are quick, I do a best-of-three scenario.
Since I have so many classes (14), this app is great for the occasional number review. I tend to spread out the games I play so that the students are excited to play and eager to excel. If a game is played too often, interest will decline and the effectiveness of the app/game is not as high.
While this game is great for second-language learners, it will still be fun for first-language review for primary grades.
Special thanks to Sylvia Duckworth for recommending this app on her French Apps for Kids iPad blog.
Do you have any other quick game apps like this one that you can recommend for review? Let us know in the comments. We would appreciate it!