My First Tangrams (Free or $1.99) is a simplified version of a Tangram puzzle. The background is indented to show where the pieces need to go. They are all the right way up.
TanZen HD (Free or $2.99) is a more traditional version of the game. Students have to work hard to rotate and place the pieces in the correct positons to solve the puzzles.
I introduced both apps at the same time and let my year two students decide which one they wanted to explore. It was good that the students had an opportunity to choose the app that best suited their mood and abilities.
We looked at two new Maths Apps today, both of which are targeted at improving mental computation skills.
The first app we looked at was Math Bingo. (99c) We chose to play the addition bingo card at the easiest level. This suited the level of our grade ones. However the beauty of this app is that there are three difficlty levels to choose from (easy, medium and hard) to ensure that kids at all stages are catered for. You can also choose from the four different operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) depending on the learning needs of your target group or individual child. The students found this app very easy to use and especially loved that achieving a high score came with a reward – a ‘bingo bug’ that crawls around the screen and can be played with by dragging or tilting the iPad. We had a competition going to see who could collect the most ‘bingo bug’s.
This app was a little trickier for our grade ones however by the end of the session they were getting the hang of it and were totally engaged. The concept of the game is simple. You have to draw lines between floating single digit numbers until they add up to seven. It sounds easy however gradually the numbers become more difficult to work with as multipliers, dividers and negatives are thrown into the mix. If you allow numbers that add up to more than 7 bump into each other it’s game over. As the screen fills with more and more numbers, you need to do some frantic, speedy adding. It’s a great way to make maths fun and develop mental computation skills.
We introduced the kids to 123 Sheep! today. ($1.99) This app offers three different games that allow students to use their own mathematical problem solving to help a farmer with his sheep. The helicopter round up has a helicopter that the student maneuvers around the farm to find groups of sheep using addition and even/odd. The round up game has the student moving sheep into pens eg. moving 24 sheep into 3 pens. In this case the student can use addition, division, multiplication, or any other problem solving skill that allows them to figure it out. The last game, Jump, involves counting sheep by different number patterns. It is a great app because it doesn’t direct students to use one particular technique to solve the problems. The kids played the games in pairs today which worked really well. There was lots of peer teaching going on. It would also be a great tool to use 1:1 with a student to create conversation about why they are solving a problem in a particular way or to challenge them to fand a different way to solve the problem. It costs $2.99 and is a great app that offers many learning opportunities.
The second app we looked at today was Math Express. (Free) This is a fun and simple maths app designed to practice addition of 2 numbers from 1-10. The kids loved this one because it is quite interactive and they get a certificate at the end. Each new game is a new start which means the kids can play it over and over again. This was a winner with the kids today and with no price tag attatched it is worth installing.
Welcome back everyone. We are really excited about term three and can’t wait to share all of the wonderful activities we have planned with you. This term we will be focusing on some of the Early Childhood and Picture books that have been shortlisted for Book of the Year 2012. The shortlist was announced on April 3rd and the winners will be announced on Friday 17th August. Before the official winner is announced we will have our very own voting system where we get to choose the book that we think deserves to win. It is always very interesting to see if our winning book is the same as the Children’s Book Council winner. The announcement of the winning title will be made before Children’s Book Week which runs from Saturday 18th – Friday 24th August. The theme for Book Week this year is “Champions Read”. For more information on the awards and book week you can visit http://cbca.org.au/awards.htm.