iPad Apps for Education: Part 1 – Stop Math

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012


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As an eager tech user as well as a teacher who likes to use any tools that are handy, I am always trying out new ways to engage students. I recently obtained an iPad and have been trying to fill it with the best educational tools possible.

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Imagine my delight when I found an interactive book app all about math! The book is called Stop Math, by Jeff Weigel. It is set in the future, when time travel is possible. A young boy dislikes math, thinking it’s a torture device for schoolchildren. He decides to find the person who invented it and stop them from inventing it.

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The book then takes you on an interactive journey back through time, where he meets various characters from history, like Einstein and Newton, all of whom contributed to our current understanding of math.

Even better, on each page, there is an interactive element the child can play with – which they love to do. There are even side journeys where a student can play with an interactive widget to learn, for example, about relativity.

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My one minor criticism is that the only computation children are asked to do involves a calculator. They are not even given the chance to try to figure out the answer mentally or on paper, but must rely on the calculator in the book until the final calculation, where they are expected to subtract with the algorithm but without the ability to regroup (borrow) on the screen, which is beyond some students.

Other than that, every student I have shown it to, from kindergarteners through middle schoolers, has enjoyed it and learned something. It appeals to any age – I didn’t get too tired of it even after reading it with so many students time and time again – and has a good message about math in the end. I highly recommend it! $3.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Book Review: You Can Count on Monsters

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


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Today in my Math Mavens program, we opened the book You Can Count on Monsters by Richard Evan Schwartz for the first time. This is a book I bought because I heard glowing reviews of it on NPR.

The concept of the book is teaching prime and composite numbers through colorful, geometrical monsters. It is written for any age, from preschool on up, and my students really appreciated it. They had a lot of fun looking at the monsters, spotting the prime monsters hidden inside the composite monsters, and describing what they saw. For example, one said the 20 monster looked like “two innocent two-monsters held in custody by evil nacho chips.”

For fans of Singapore Math or number bonds in general, you will also appreciate how each number is represented with a number of dots, the numeral, and a multiplication number bond for composite numbers. All in all, it makes a powerful set of connections for students between numbers, images and fun.

The book covers numbers 1 through 100, with an introductory section that explains factoring, prime and composite numbers, and how the book is designed, all with colorful images and not too wordy. A section in the back has a further exploration of prime numbers. A wonderful enrichment for any math education!

To see inside or order the book on Amazon, click below:

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