Thursday, September 30, 2010

Four New Math Apps

A few of my students asked me this week some great questions that made me stop and think.  One was, “Why don’t we have many math apps on our iPods?” Another was “Can we get some math review activities to help me with my basic facts?”  Both these questions made me stop and reflect.

First of all my passion is with literacy, so I spend most of my time reading literacy blogs and looking for literacy apps.  For some reason, when I think about math I think in terms of my units that I teach.  This year I also have a wider range of diversity in my math class, so I need apps for a wider range of skills We are starting our multiplication unit on Monday, so I have spent this week looking through many different apps.

In addition, our next Social Studies unit is economics, and I was looking for apps to support counting change, making change, even some shopping apps that would apply these concepts as well as a student friendly checkbook/savings account app.  I was not very successful in this search.  I guess I know what I can do when I retire-create apps for elementary economics. Here are four that I chose and a short reason why I got them. 

Basic Math:  I am starting with the free version; the next version is $3.99. This application is the four basic operations with a focus on fact review. The problems are presented and it is a multiple choice for the answers.  You can set the number of problems as well as be timed.The $3.99 version allows the students to type their answer in for the basic facts.

 Just Fractions:  This app cost .99 and I love it as an introduction for fractions.  This app goes from basic addition/subtracting with like denominators to multiplying and dividing mixed fractions.  Two reasons I like this app is it has a Show Me button that takes the students step by step in the process and it also has an excellent built in vocabulary seek button if the students don’t know the meaning of the a term.

Kids Math Fun-Fifth Grade: This app cost .99 and there are different ones at each grade starting at kindergarten and going up to sixth grade.  I am going to have my students use this and if it works well I am considering purchasing a grade above or below. This app is for higher learners it is based on fractions, decimal, and percents.  The students will need to know their facts to use this app.  This app has a time limit piece that I think will be a great challenge for higher thinking.

Counting Coins is a free app.  To be honest it is a little primary for my class, but I needed something for a review with coins.  The focus in on four areas:  counting coins, matching the value, making the total, and dragging coins to create a given value. 

 I am having the students leave their iPods at school this weekend (they will not be happy about that) so that the apps can get loaded to the iPods.  I am anxious to see if
they like these new apps especially for the students have been asking about math apps. 

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