Monster Frog Pond is one of three interactive storybooks, along with Monster Birthday Surprise, and Monster Music Factory, brought to you by Professor Ginsboo's Magical Number Production Company. Based on a decade of research at Teachers College, Columbia University, the interactive storybooks are a playful approach to early math learning. Monster Frog Pond is designed to help young children, roughly ages 4 to 6 years, learn about addition and subtraction.
Monster Frog Pond is the story of how three charming monsters-Oona, Tigga, and Marluk-are asked by another character, Zoller, to keep an eye on her frogs while she goes away. She tells the monsters that there are now 5 frogs sitting on lily pads in the pond, and that she wants there to be "1, 2, 3, 4, 5 frogs" when she returns, "no more, no less." She shows them a sign on which is written the numeral 5. The monsters think that they can easily take care of the frogs. But a series of adventures and misadventures then ensue. They are designed to teach children important ideas about addition and subtraction, and how words, written numbers and symbols can be used to express these ideas.
First, two more frogs magically appear on top of Marluk's head and then jump into the pond and from there on to the lily pads. The question for the monsters, and for the child, is how many are there altogether now? "Now we have two more than five. Let's think. How many are there now?" This is, of course, a very simple form of addition. Tigga recognizes this and writes some symbols and a number on the sign, so that it now reads, "5 + 2 =". Note that the math symbols are introduced in the context of a very lively story, so that the young child will see from the beginning that they mean something, and what they mean is all about adding and subtracting. The child is not learning strange, meaningless, and arbitrary symbols in isolation. After solving the problem, the child is encouraged to check the result. It's easy to find out if an answer is right by simply counting all of the frogs that came together on the lily pad.
Next a bumble flies by and one of the frogs hops off the lily pad and chases the fly, disappearing off screen. Now the problem is, "Well, we had seven frogs but one hopped away. How many do we have now?" This is, of course, subtraction, and Tigga writes, "7 - 1 =. After the problem is solved, the written statement is updated to 7 - 1 = 6, and the child is encouraged to check by counting the frogs.
The monsters then encounter a new problem in which 2 frogs descend from the sky wearing parachutes. It's easy to see that 6 + 2 is 8, but then all of the frogs jump off the lily pads and dive under the water. How many are there now? This is a hard problem for some young children because the frogs are not visible, although the monsters realize that there are still 8 under the water. But then 2 of the frogs jump out from under the water and hop onto a truck that then drives them off screen. How many are there now? After figuring out the answer, the child is again asked to check.
Monster Frog Pond teaches the child about addition and subtraction: addition is having more than the previous amount and subtraction involves having less (except when you add or subtract zero); that you can figure out addition and subtraction problems by counting; that you can check your work; and that you can show addition and subtraction with symbols, namely the written numerals and the +, -, and = signs. Addition and subtraction are meaningful. Yes, the child will eventually have to memorize the number facts, but at first, he or she needs to understand the ideas and the symbols used to represent them.
The other two books in the series, Monster Birthday Surprise, and Monster Music Factory, also help the child to learn basic ideas about number and strategies for solving simple, everyday life math problems.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.