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.
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.
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.
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.