Websites and Apps from NYSCATE 2013 Presentation

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here is a list of websites and apps demonstrated during my session at NYSCATE 2013.

EngageNY.org: where you can download the full curriculum modules for free.

commoncore.org: access Eureka, the interface for the full math curriculum modules.

Number Pieces (Free): Virtual Base 10 blocks and whiteboard

AL Abacus ($1.99): Virtual abacus, sometimes called a Rekenrek

10 Frame Fill (Free): Basic ten-frame game/app.

Virtual Manipulatives! (Free): Fraction, decimal and percentage tiles

Teaching Table ($2.99): Smartboard-like manipulatives and interactivity for math presentations

Number Bonds: Addition & Subtraction to 99 ($1.99): Number bonds app for composing and decomposing numbers

Bugsy Kindergarten Math ($2.99): Fun game to practice K-1 skills

Splash Math website & apps ($9.99 per grade level): Adaptive Common Core-aligned math practice, with individual users

Numberland ($2.99): Montessori-based early numbers practice

Marble Math ($2.99): Game-interfaced math practice with choice of levels & subjects

Hands-on Equations ($4.99): Learn to solve for a variable step-by-step from concept to procedure

Thinking Blocks (All apps free): Solve word problems while making models interactively

Conceptua Math: Online tools and curriculum for math. Very strong for fractions.

Common Core Standards Viewer (Free): Interactive Common Core standards viewer with flow from one to the next

 

 

More Math Apps for iPad: Singapore Math and Common Core

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

It’s been a while since my last post on iPad apps, and in the meantime a lot has happened. For one thing, I have downloaded and tried quite a number of math apps. I’m going to start a round-up of some of the most useful apps as I have time.

number bondsFirst up: exciting news! The Number Bond software, that I lamented being only on Mac or PC for so long, is now ported to iOS. As far as I can tell, having downloaded only the addition/subtraction version, it’s pretty much exactly the same as the computer version.

This has its pros and cons. Pros: the familiar interface, its simplicity, and the fact that it does one thing – it teaches number bonds at different levels. Cons: In light of the outstanding, more powerful software out there, it takes advantage of very few of these features. For example, it is not adaptive, meaning the difficulty does not change with the user’s proficiency. It also does not save user data, something the better educational software is doing (as I’ll discuss later), even emailing it weekly to the parent or teacher if desired. It also has a few bugs to iron out, which I’m sure will happen soon.

So would I recommend it? Yes, as a practice tool for a child at home or as a station in the classroom – but I would love to see it get more developer attention and become more powerful.

Download Number Bonds: Addition & Subtraction to 99

Next up: AL Abacus

For anyone teaching/homeschooling with Singapore Math or a Common Core curriculum, such as Eureka Math, or working with a child with a math learning disability, you will find  that the Slavonic Abacus, or Rekenrek, is incredibly useful for teaching number sense and place value. It breaks down numbers into groups of five and ten, which are easy to manipulate mentally, not least because our hands are right in front of us since we are in the womb, with five fingers each (otherwise known as digits!). While having the concrete manipulative is ideal for sensory feedback, sometimes teachers want to project the abacus to a group, or show a demonstration to a small group. This is where the iPad version, AL Abacus, comes in.

AL Abacus to 100This app is a Slavonic Abacus with two modes. The first is the side with numbers to 100. To access this side, hold the abacus in landscape (horizontal) mode. When all the beads are to the right, it is like pressing “C” (or Clear) on a calculator. To reset all the beads, just tilt the iPad to the left – exactly like on a real abacus. Just slide single or groups of beads to the left to add, subtract, multiply, or divide within 100.

AL Abacus to 1000sThe second side is accessed by turning the iPad to portrait, or vertical, orientation. In this mode, you can work with numbers to 1000, with different columns of beads representing the different place values. This can be a very powerful, easy tool for computing whole numbers through the thousands. To reset the beads, just lift the iPad up, and the beads all fall to the bottom.

Incidentally, this second side was designed by Dr. Joan Cotter, who did her doctoral dissertation using it. Her website, with additional resources, including how to use the AL Abacus, is http://rightstartmath.com/resources/.

This is an almost perfect representation of a physical version of the abacus. There are only two things missing, in my view: the sound of the beads clicking together, which would be great sensory feedback.

Download AL Abacus – Activities for Learning, Inc.

Since this tool is new to many people, here are some other resources besides just the iPad version.

Do you have other ideas or resources for teaching number bonds or using the Rekenrek? Post them in the comments!

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.

        
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