LocoMotive Labs Launches Todo K-2 Math Practice App That Supports Children with Learning Differences to Practice and Master Math Concepts and Develop Fact Fluency

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Professional game designers, in collaboration with academic and special education experts, use universal design for learning to help struggling learners practice and enjoy math by playing 6 engaging multi-level games starting at their own level and continuously progressing at their own pace.

LocoMotive Labs, an educational technology company that develops exceptional assistive and play-based learning applications that empower kids with special needs to be independent learners, announced today that Todo K-2 Math Practice is available for free in the Apple App Store. Todo K-2 Math Practice gives parents and teachers the ability to provide quality supplementary math practice and support for children struggling to master early elementary math concepts including counting, writing numbers, addition and subtraction.

Often, young children with special learning needs are not provided the additional time, practice, specialized curricula and individual attention in school to acquire strong foundational math skills like number recognition, counting, addition and subtraction. Developing automaticity in these basic skills is critical for mastering more advanced arithmetic processes such as multiplication and division as well as higher-level problem solving within advanced mathematics including algebra and geometry. Additionally, fluency in basic math computation is crucial for daily living applications such as counting money and calculating restaurant tips.

Children with short-term memory and sequencing issues, or those who have difficulty understanding abstract math will benefit from using tangible and representational strategies for learning math. Maya Israel, Ph.D., assistant professor of special education at the University of Illinois, whose research includes supporting students’ meaningful access to mathematics learning through instructional strategies and technologies says, “Research indicates that giving students the opportunity to practice math using concrete manipulatives and their pictorial representations helps to build strong conceptual understanding of math, especially for students who struggle with mathematics.”

To support learners with special needs, LocoMotive Labs has created Todo K-2 Math Practice by combining concrete, representational, and abstract math all within one app, so that children develop a strong understanding of basic math concepts in an accessible play-based game format. The 6 multi-level games support learners to practice and progress at their own pace.

“We know that many students find math frustrating and are afraid of making mistakes, so we need to provide practice that is fun and engaging. Also, we need to provide a lot of practice with concrete objects (and representations of those concrete objects),” says Dr. Israel. “With Todo K-2 Math Practice, students have fun and build the confidence they need to progress. Using virtual concrete manipulatives for learning math such as the games ‘cookies’ and ‘tallies’ provide multiple means to manipulate the concrete images so that learners can practice basic calculations up to 20.”

LocoMotive Labs seeks to address the strong demand for effective, evidence-based math apps that are aligned with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), especially for learners with special needs in inclusive and specialized classroom settings. Teachers are looking for comprehensive applications that can support, supplement, and differentiate their daily instruction so that children with special needs can learn alongside their peers.

Jennifer Carney, an elementary special education teacher in Houston, Texas instructs students with moderate to severe special needs in a specialized classroom setting. She relies on concrete and representational manipulatives such as the ten-frame and base 10 blocks to teach early elementary math to her students. “I was so excited to see similar representations of manipulatives like the ten-frame in the Todo K-2 Math Practice games as I use in my own classroom,” Ms. Carney said while testing the app. The ten-frame helps students understand how numbers and counting are related. It becomes an important accommodation tool in the classroom, during standardized tests, and as a bridge to accessing mainstream curriculum. “Using Todo K-2 Math Practice provides continuity between what I teach in the classroom and what my students practice on the iPad independently,” says Carney.

“Our mission is to help children discover the fun in doing math and design apps so that all children can practice math independently,” says Sooinn Lee, co-founder and lead game designer for LocoMotive Labs. “Todo K-2 Math Practice is unique because of the subtle game leveling features required to support children with learning differences so that they can progress and be successful at mastering basic math concepts.” The game levels, along with the variety of games, together offer the breadth and depth required to cover preK through 2nd grade math calculation curriculum. The simple clean user interface and timely multi-sensory feedback to the learner makes the playing experience accessible to children with deficits in auditory and visual processing, short-term memory, language delay, or under-developed fine motor skills.

During beta-testing, Cynthia Gregory, a parent of three children, a special needs advocate for her first grader with classic autism and the author of the blog CGregoryRun.com had this to say about Todo K-2 Math Practice. “The iPad and the apps contained on it have been the most important tool to bridge the gap between ‘neurotypical’ learning and special education. The App Store is full of amazing educational tools to learn letters, stories, shapes, counting and numbers. There is however a space that is sparsely populated by high-quality early elementary math apps that are designed for children with special needs.” Gregory continues, “My son has excellent memory and can recall the answers to simple addition and subtraction equations. However, he lacks the conceptual understanding of what the answers and equations mean. Todo K-2 Math Practice helps him to develop a concrete understanding of math in an engaging format that he can play independently.”

Todo K-2 Math Practice is a series of 6 fun and engaging multi-level games, aligned with the Common Core State Standards that offer children practice and support in Pre-K through 2nd grade math fluency skills including: counting, writing numerals, addition and subtraction. Developed by award-winning game designers and in collaboration with teachers and math experts, Todo K-2 Math Practice offers meaningful play for students who struggle to master early elementary math skills. Combining research-based instructional strategies with playful game design helps children who struggle with math understand the meaning of mathematical operations building a strong foundation for further mathematical learning.

Todo K-2 Math Practice Six Multi-Level Games Include:

  •     Counting: Count the colorful pieces of fruit, tapping each one to take a bite & practice 1:1 correspondence. Start with counting just a few items, building over time to counting 30 items.
  •     Number Tracing: Practice with numeric quantities from 1 through 9 Count the balls and then trace the corresponding numeral.
  •     Tallies: Group playful, electric creatures together to hit the target values. A race against the clock, this fast-paced, exciting game builds fluency with counting on and counting back from a starting number.
  •     Cookies: Develop understanding of addition and subtraction through this playful game. Sums and differences are visually represented through a treat-sharing model.
  •     Falling Blocks: Practice addition with support of the 10-frame representation. Answer through handwriting recognition or by dragging numerals into place.
  •     Quick Math: Build fluency through repetition of math facts. Focused practice of addition and subtraction to 99.

Awarded Best Design by Launch Education and Kids Conference, Todo K-2 Math Practice App is available for free from the App Store or at http://www.AppStore.com .


Locomotive Labs designs exceptional assistive and play-based learning applications to empower kids with special needs to be independent learners. The LocoMotive Labs team is comprised of award-winning game designers and developers closely collaborating with parents, speech and language pathologists, and educators to elevate digital learning experiences for children with special needs. Headquartered in Berkeley, California, LocoMotive Labs is backed by K9 Ventures, NewSchools Venture Fund and can be found on the web at http://locomotivelabs.com/ .

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Anna Johnson
LocoMotive Labs
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