Here you will find some information and didactic tips on how to use the app.

Games

With the Star Catcher educational game, children practice determining quantities simultaneously without counting and also breaking down larger quantities into subsets. This is done in a playful way by circling or searching for given quantities as quickly as possible - in the game as catching stars in the starry sky. There are seven types of exercises that are offered in each number range with increasing levels of difficulty:

1. **Starcatcher**: In this exercise, a starry sky is shown. The task is to circle a certain number of stars with your finger as quickly as possible. The time runs until sunrise. The faster the numbers are found, the faster all the stars in the sky will disappear and the more points you get. In some exercises, UFOs also fly around in the starry sky. The UFOs must not be caught.

2. **Starfinder**: In this game, stars are already circled as quantities. The task is to find a quantity that matches the number shown above and tap it quickly. Can you find all the quantities before the sun has risen?

3. **Starfield**: In this exercise, a grid with stars of different colors is shown. The task here is to find a suitable number of stars of the same color that are in a row next to, above or below each other. Here too, in some exercises, there are UFOs that park on the star. You are not allowed to guess at these numbers.

4. **Shooting stars**: In this exercise, lots of stars fall from the sky and you have to guess the right number as quickly as possible (“flash look”).

5. **Falling Stars**: This exercise is like the Star Catcher exercise, except that the stars move downwards and must be caught before they touch the bottom of the screen.

6. **Starlights**: In this game, sets of stars flash for a short time and must be identified. The numbers are entered in writing in a grey box. The children write with their finger or a special pen.

7. **Star puzzle**: In this exercise, quantities must be completed. A target number is sought and a subset has already been selected. The child must now find and tap the missing (sub)set as quickly as possible.

The child receives points for each game. The faster the game is solved, the more points are awarded. This is intended to encourage the children to train their ability to recognize quantities as quickly as possible (in a flash) and to develop strategies for selecting and recording quickly. The child's successes/skills are shown via the trophy button. A certificate can also be printed out here.

Setting options

The app's voice output and sound effects can be customized to meet your needs. The number range can also be limited if you only want to offer exercises up to a certain number range.

For children with learning difficulties who have difficulty coping with the time pressure of the games, the time pressure can be significantly reduced (the time available is doubled).

In addition, an evaluation of the measured flash glance times for each number can be displayed as a diagram over the practice day - however, this is only intended for teachers and makes it possible to identify trends and learning progress, but also needs for support.

Didactic embedding

Promoting simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous quantity recognition requires targeted exercises and activities to develop students' ability to recognize quantities at a glance. Here are some strategies you can use to implement this in your classroom, in combination with this app:

**Flash cards as an introduction**

Use flash cards with small amounts of dots (stars), lines or other elements to introduce the exercises. Show the card for just a moment and ask the children to see the number of elements at a glance rather than counting. After this introductory exercise, the children can continue to practice independently and at their own pace using the app. You can also offer other types of exercises, such as partner exercises.

**Practice pattern recognition**

Train children to recognize patterns in quantity images. For example, they can learn that four dots are often arranged in a square or cross, and that five dots are arranged like the "5" on a cube or can be composed of subsets. This helps them to quickly recognize larger quantities and to "see" and combine subsets. You can also encourage quasi-simultaneous quantity recognition by asking children to divide larger quantities into smaller groups. For example, you could show a card with eight dots and ask the students to see these as two subsets (e.g. 4 and 4, 5 and 3). For example, after an initial practice run with the app, you can think together with the children about how the time for recognizing the quantities can be shortened and have them discuss and exchange strategies for how larger quantities can also be quickly recognized by combining them from subsets.

**Short practice phases, but over longer periods**

Please note that exercises for quick vision and pattern recognition require practice and time so that children can develop sustainable strategies for quickly grasping quantities. It is therefore particularly effective to consistently incorporate such exercises into practice phases. This can be at the beginning of a lesson (for example on a digital whiteboard), or you can repeatedly offer the app or other quick vision exercises in station work, weekly plans or similar. For this reason, there is also a success badge in the app for practicing with the app on several different days.

Subject didactic background

The ability to see quantities quickly (“in a flash”) is one of the essential foundations for the development of non-counting arithmetic strategies. It is also a prerequisite for the effective use of many structured visual aids such as the abacus, tens and twenties, etc. Children who can grasp quantities quickly, simultaneously or quasi-simultaneously, without counting, develop efficient arithmetic strategies more easily and quickly and understand mathematics better overall.

The **simultaneous quantity recording**, also known as subitizing, is the (innate) ability to perceive small quantities (typically up to three or four) at a glance. For example, a child can immediately recognize that there are three apples in a picture of three apples without having to count them individually. **quasi-simultaneous quantity recording** refers to the recognition of larger sets by recognizing subgroups and putting them together using addition. For example, a child might see six apples as a group of four and a group of two and quickly add them to make six.

The ability to recognize quantities simultaneously and quasi-simultaneous is a fundamental numerical competence that serves as the basis for more advanced mathematical skills, such as understanding addition, subtraction and multiplication. By improving these skills, students can solve complex mathematical problems more effectively and develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Flash-glance exercises are therefore an important part of initial mathematical instruction in the first two years of school. Flash-glance exercises, as offered in this app in various exercise forms, are exercises that serve to train simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous quantity recognition and to improve the rapid recognition and comprehension of (sub)sets. These exercises are short and intensive, often with rapidly changing images or situations in which students have to determine the number of elements at a glance. They are an effective tool for improving quantity recognition skills and thereby promote basic mathematical understanding.

Time plays an important factor here, which is why the exercises in this app are all carried out under a certain amount of time pressure. The main advantage of clever quantity recognition strategies is the time saved compared to counting.