Number Express: a Digital Game to Improve Early Numeracy


  • Nicoletta Perini Loughborough University
  • Annamaria Porru Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padova, Italy
  • Korbinian Moeller Department of Mathematics Education, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK; Leibniz-Institut Fuer Wissensmedien, Tuebingen, Germany; LEAD Graduate School and Research Network, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Tim Jay Department of Mathematics Education, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  • Francesco Sella Department of Mathematics Education, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK



digital game, number ordering, preschool and primary children, early numeracy


Early numeracy (including basic skills like counting, order processing, etc.) has repeatedly been observed to predict later scholastic but also vocational prospects. As such, it seems sensible to foster it early on during development. In this article, we describe the development and initial evaluation of Number Express, a digital game designed to facilitate numerical skills in pre-and primary school considering the latest evidence from research on order processing. The game consists of a train with six carriages for the player to fill in with numbers in the correct order. The game progresses in difficulty across several levels, moving from smaller to larger numbers and sequences in steps of 2, 5, and 10. Informative feedback helps players in case they respond wrongly. Associating numbers to carriages in the correct order earns the player points, with which they can buy items in a virtual shop, providing additional experience with calculating with money. During the design phase, we sought feedback from researchers, teachers, and an education consultant specialising in the learning and teaching of primary mathematics. Piloting will involve testing the game with a small group of preschool children to evaluate its playability and ease of use and to resolve any remaining technical issues. Additionally, we will gather feedback from children to identify any areas of the game that might be improved or made more engaging. In the next step, the game will be implemented in an intervention study to determine its effectiveness in improving children's early numeracy skills. In case the game proves to be effective in improving children's early numeracy skills, it has the potential to be a valuable tool for educators and parents in supporting their children's numerical development.