As a former Middle School Math teacher, I am always eager to check out the latest math apps for secondary. I met Dave Brown, the app developer, through LinkedIn and through a series of conversations, he shared with me the intent of this app and sent a nifty promo code my way to review it. Since I had a three hour drive to the beach and the boys were either napping or tethered to an iPad, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a few minutes and review the app.
Dave had mentioned that the app will always be a work in progress and they are looking to have 10 modules by Christmas. Currently, the app has 7 modules with instructions and objectives for most of them. Out of the 7, 3 made my favorites list. As with anything app-related, they require users as ourselves to test the apps and provide formative feedback to make changes that will truly benefit the end user… our students. With that said, let me introduce Middle School Math:
- Pinpoint (Winner): This wins my first place vote. Simple and intuitive. Students choose 1 of 8 animals to graph based on given coordinates. The app will also notifyusers when they miss the mark. While the activity presented a learning objective and step-by-step instructions, I didn’t find them integral to my mastering the activity.
- Shape Board (Runner-Up): This is a basic Geo Board with rubber bands. It doesn’t have an info section and I had wished it did because I had some initial issues with the rubber bands (thought I had to pull multiple ones like line segments rather than stretch the first one I pulled.) Once I figured that out, I was golden. App also calculates perimeter and area which is a nice self-check feature. As a teacher, I would create a task-card for this directing students to create certain shapes (e.g. polygon, isosceles triangle, regular hexagon) with varying lengths. All in all, this activity has a lot of possibilities.
- Data Magnet (Second Runner-Up): This activity has a lot of klout especially in a classroom with limited iPads. Students compose a survey question with multiple choice answers. It took a while to set it all up (as there is no dial to choose a set number of students – 10, 15, 20, etc…). However, once that was done it was easy to see the possibilities this activity possesses. A teacher could simply pass the iPad around from student to student until every one had made their selection. From there, the data can be graphed as a bar graph or pie chart. The only “wish it did this” moment was that the graphs are labeled with “option 1, option 2” rather than the actual choices given. The survey can be saved for later and students can always take a screenshot of the results and incorporate it into another project.
The other 4 activities included in the app are:
- Place Value: students drag digits to match a number in written form
- Ordering Numbers: students stomp on caveman in order from least to greatest. Three settings included: integers, decimals, and fractions.
- Multiple Conveyor: students drop numbers in slots (reminded me a bit of Plinko for some reason) based on their divisibility. The first categories were multiples of 2, multiples of 2 &3, and multiples of 3.
- Algebra Vault: students can work through multiple steps to solve one-step and two-step equations.
Many thanks to Dave Brown, Interactive Elementary for generously donating promo codes for South San ISD’s middle school mathematics teachers to demo the app next Saturday during the iPad Camp techchef4u is presenting.