By Teachers, For Teachers
Let’s be honest – math is a subject that isn’t exactly easy to make fun, troubleshoot easily without devoting a great deal of classroom time or transcend beyond the classroom walls. Luckily for all of us, there have been several tablet and mobile-friendly developments that are aimed to do just that.
These iPad apps for teachers strive to make math something that students look forward to learning and educators eager to teach. Utilizing these iPad apps for teachers in and beyond your classroom will undoubtedly facilitate fun learning and even spark a bit of imagination in your K-8 classrooms.
Math Bingo - ABCya.com ($0.99)
KeyStageFun, the developer behind the Math Bingo, has really gotten it right by wrapping math around a set of fun and friendly Squeebles characters and, in this case, a delicious objective: Help Ruby (the owner of an ice cream and bingo parlor) get her ice cream ingredients and her 24 Squeebles customers back from a Math Monster by answering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.
Appropriate to the staging, the equations are presented to you on a bingo game card. For each question, you select the correct answer on the bingo card and mark it off. The goal, like traditional bingo, is to get 5 correct answers in a line in any direction (horizontal, vertical or diagonal). Happily for teachers, the Math Monster stole 200 individual ice cream ingredients to unlock, so this app will keep children occupied, help them effectively learn math and engage their imaginations. There are also unlimited user profiles for any given device, making it great to use with all of your students. And because all of your students can use this, Math Bingo’s handy in-app stats give parents a sense of their child’s progress – it’s hard to argue with any quantifiable metrics like that.
More than just gameifying math for a wide age range and subject topics, the app also allows students to make their own crazy flavors of ice cream. One of the most appetizing examples we found were on the ‘net was a delightful Brussel sprout ice cream with butterscotch sauce, sugar mice and a garlic breadstick. Gets your mouth watering doesn’t it?
As a cherry topping to this sweet and easy-to-use iPad app for teachers, it’s absolutely free with no ads, in-app purchases or website links.
Much like Math Bingo, Bugs and Numbers is a sequel to other offerings from the developer Little Bit Studio. But instead of Squeebles, you’re presented with a different set of (debatably) cute critters in an interface packed with 18 unique games designed to help pre-K through 3rd-grade students learn math while having fun.
The app is set in Bug City – a world masterfully modeled after our own where bugs are seen having dinner or going on dates with one another amidst backdrops like diners, picnics or arcades. At the core, the object of the app is simple – earn bugs by completing each of the unique skill games within Bug City. As an example, kids learn fractions by watching ants deliver pizza to a picnic, and kids choose which fraction is represented in the box. Incorrect answers are met with a friendly "oops" and disappear to give your students even greater odds to arrive at the correct answer.
In regard to the app itself, the graphic details are incredible, and thankfully continue even when the visual treats give way to legitimate mathematical practice. For example, the insects’ heads follow your fingers as you write on the iPad “blackboard.” Bugs and Numbers is also quite clever in evolutionary terms – it has adaptive gameplay that will automatically adjust based upon your performance.
Because there is such a wide array of math activities to learn, teachers and parents may want to select an appropriate start point for their youngsters. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic app that, despite being $2.99 with in-app purchases, will be more than worth the investment for years of gameplay.
Algebra - YourTeacher.com ($9.99)
This app is definitely one of our most robust and advanced offering for both students and teachers. In fact, these education-centric developers offer comprehensive math-specific apps for virtually all K-12 classrooms. It is a structured math learning program that engages students with math exercises. Teachers can capture results in real-time, review and understand student progress, thereby saving time, paper and enhancing productivity.
For students, the app is a structured learning program that, as aforementioned, could be implemented from a very young age all the way until they undergo high school. But for this particular application, children can get a firm grasp of algebra variables, real numbers and properties, solving and graphing linear equations and much more. It’s a rather straightforward and spartan app, but if unfiltered learning is what you’re after, this is fantastic.
Although the student learning side of things is great, this app really sets itself apart is how it can benefit us as educators. Teachers can capture results from student worksheets you assign within the app in real-time – allowing us to actively track progress, troubleshoot where necessary and differentiate learning. Even more, students may learn in real-time using the “built-in interactive Live Learning Center” via whiteboard.
There are several other Math Pentagon apps that you can use in your classroom, including a pro version of Algebra that goes even more in-depth than this version. These suites, however, may be more reserved for schools with higher budgets, as they go for around $50 each. Happily, if you would rather get a wider gamut of math offerings, Math Pentagon offers a monthly subscription for $9.99, which grants you access to algebra, geometry and trigonometry digital worksheets for grades 4-8.
MathBoard - PalaSoftware Inc. ($4.99)
Akin to Math Pentagon’s Algebra offering, Math Board is more utilitarian, but again, if learning is on equal footing with tracking and assessment priorities, then this is still a good app to consider.
Its backdrop may be something we’d be more familiar with than our students – a traditional chalkboard. Nevertheless, the content within the app will undoubtedly be relevant still (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, basic algebra, squares, cubes, and square roots).
Although the app is still reliant on a multiple-choice system, it does feature a handy “Note Board” at the bottom of the screen for students to show their work. MathBoard will also allow you to create custom quizzes (up to 250 problems per quiz) and configure the app to best match the abilities of your individual child or student. For those who want to brush up on basics prior to diving into any assessment, you thankfully have access to quick reference tables. After taking quizzes, teachers can save unique student results and share them with parents (or vice versa).
It’s a good app to have in your arsenal – especially if Math Pentagon’s Pro offerings for younger children are out of reach.
For Words with Friends and Scrabble aficionados, this app will be a blast – Numbler takes the familiar crossword interface and brings it into the realm of mathematics by making equations from numbers rather than words from letters.
For those already familiar with the aforementioned gaming platforms, both scoring and tile placement should feel very comparable – each player must use at least one existing board file and two tiles from your hand to make a complete equation. Once a true equation has been formed, the sum of each tile digit (coupled with any board bonuses) determines the score of that particular turn.
It’s a very unique tool that will encourage your students to sharpen their math skills in and out of the classroom against their friends or the built-in computer. It could also be a really cool round-robin math tournament at the end of the school year. And for $0.99, it’s a bit of fun that won’t break the bank to add to your teaching toolkit.