Beware of traditional approaches to math education as the days of old math are now numbered. Thankfully, touchscreen technology is here to help. Here are five compelling apps that tackle mathematics in unique ways. While students should not abandon classroom lessons, these apps could be a boon for those who struggle with math.
Dragon Shapes: Geometry Challenge (iOS Universal, Free, Ages 5-7)
Lighthouse Learning’s Dragon Shapes app offers a compelling narrative about an MIA dragon and a Chinese village, led by characters Digit and Plume. This is, of course, a cover for a fantastic introduction to spatial reasoning puzzles and geometric shapes. Dragon Shapes is broken down into episodes, each focusing on a specific shape. The gameplay is highly intuitive and the visually-appealing animations are top-notch. If first grade students breeze through the initial 50 levels, parents can unlock the full version for $2.99.
Motion Math: Pizza! (iOS Universal, $2.99, Ages 9-11)
The Motion Math team always brings their A-game to educational apps. Motion Math: Pizza! is a simulation game that teaches math students financial pragmatism; they will develop a stronger sense of economics by working through calculations in their heads and purchasing ingredients. Great for fifth graders, this game can also contribute to a student’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship! A polite warning to parents of kids younger than nine: Motion Math: Pizza! moves at pace. To curb frustration, help your child and turn the pizzeria into an authentic family business.
Grade 8 Math Learning Cards (iOS, Android $1.99, Ages 13-15)
This Android app dispenses sets of math-focused cards that cover a curriculum’s worth of information. While a simulacrum is never exactly what it represents, Grade 8 Math Learning Cards comes pretty darn close, as it includes chapters on Algebra, Commercial Mathematics, Coordinate Geometry, Geometry and Mensuration, Number Theory, Statistics and Data Handling. It’s fantastic for subject refreshers, study sessions and simply swiping through examples to reinforce mathematical concepts. Other apps in Learnhive Education’s series cover 7th, 9th, and 10th grade math.
Math 42 (iOS Universal, Free, Ages 11-18)
Math 42 is a godsend for students that benefit from a slower pace. This handy and free iOS app, which boasts 380 plus exercises per topic, walks students through every step of a math problem, provides practice tests and immediate progress feedback, and abstains from relying on preformed answers through artificial intelligence. Topics range from Fractions to Quadratic Equations to Polynomials. Math 42 works offline, so students can avoid web-surfing or other distractions that require a Wi-Fi connection.
Calculus Math Full Edition (Android, $4.99, Ages 16-18)
Calculus Math Android app puts an interesting spin on mathematical theories, connecting animated video tutorials, trivia, and sample exercises. The result is an educational experience that can stay lodged in student minds. The Full Edition covers six chapters, all focused on Calculus. As this app uses an unorthodox method to teach the material, students should take the lite version for a test drive before spending five bucks. After all, some students will definitely prefer the tried-and-true approaches for learning Calculus.