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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

There are so many ways to use mobile devices with students. You can create interactive textbooks for children to read, ask them to explain their thinking through screencasting or help them access informational text using QR codes. Mobile devices can also be used to help students practice foundational math skills and build their math fluency.

In order for students to tackle the multi-step word problems they'll be asked to solve as early as elementary school, they need to have mastered their addition, subtraction and multiplication facts. By answering 4 + 12, 15 - 5, 9 x 7 and 18 / 3 quickly and accurately, students can focus on reading word problems to figure out what the question is asking them to do. There are tons of fun apps that help children build their math fluency through games and flashcards. Check out some of these fantastic math apps.

Operation Math (iOS - $2.99, Android - $1.99)

This app turns your students into secret spies that will travel around the world on different missions. Kids can choose which operations they want to practice as they make their way through this app.

Sushi Monster (iOS - Free)

Scholastic's app offers children multiplication and addition problems. They'll have to reach a target number by picking the correct factors and addends listed on different pieces of sushi.

Quick Math - Arithmetic & Times Tables (iOS - $1.99)

With this app, kids will answer traditional skill-and-drill questions -- but they won't have to enter answers into a keypad. Instead, your children can write the answer anywhere on the screen of their device, and the app will read their handwriting and record their response.

Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose (iOS - $1.99, Android - $1.99)

In this game, children will have to answer addition, subtraction, multiplication or division questions and place their answer on a bingo board. This app is full of colorful cartoon characters and offers visual models to help students understand each problem.

Meerkat Math HD (iOS - $1.99)

This adventure app asks students to complete different races using their math facts. In order to make their meerkat avatar run and jump fast enough to be a winner, they'll have to answer each question quickly and correctly.

Math Flash Cards * (iOS - Free)

A traditional skill-and-drill app (yes, the asterisk is part of the title), Math Flash Cards * helps children practice their times tables by customizing the number and difficulty level of each question. This app has a simple interface that makes it easy for kids to play.

10monkeys Multiplication (iOS - $1.99, Android - Free)

Kids can practice multiplication facts with this animated app. The goal is to help monkeys trapped in a tree escape by answering a set of questions correctly. This app is broken down into different times table and includes a reference chart to review facts.

Math Monsters - Bingo (iOS - Free)

Students can practice all operations using this bingo app. They'll solve each problem and then find the answer on the bingo board. Players need to be strategic if they want to win the game.

Math Vs Zombies (iOS - $4.99, Android - Free)

This silly app asks children to add, subtract, multiply or divide single- and two-digit numbers. Students need to answer each question correctly in order to zap the zombies back into humans.

YodelOh Math Mountain (iOS - $2.99, Android - $1.99)

A virtual take on a traditional carnival game, this app helps children practice all four operations. They'll have to work quickly so that the yodeler doesn't fall from the top of the mountain.

What are your favorite ways to practice math fluency? Do you have an app that you've tried with students?

Comments (26)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

RG's picture
elementary teacher

Fluency in early number sense is critical! I use Native Numbers by Native Brain: www.nativebrain.com. Is mastery based, adaptive and has teacher dashboard to show progression. Especially useful for numeral recognition, magnitude, counting, one-to-one. Based on cognitive models of learning. Stellar!

Marty Esterman's picture
Marty Esterman
Founder, Fluency Games, LLC

I would also like to suggest Addition Blocks ($1.99) and Multiplication Blocks ($1.99)...These games are not the traditional speed-drill apps, but think "candy crush" for math. Players need to find the numbers to add up/multiply to a falling target value. Also web-based free versions at http://www.additionblocksgame.com and on BrainPOP!

Dr. B's picture

I use two games (Flow and Flappy Dog) in our Flashcards [+] app to teach my older son (1st grader) to be fluent in math. Now he is the fastest in his class and the only one who can solve 50 simple additions problems under 1 min so far. At the same time, I should admit that all apps (including ours) don't cover 100% of all skills that were necessary for him to succeed in classroom. They miss an important procedural part associated with handwriting. It turns out that I had to teach him how to write answers fast and split his visual and handwriting tasks when his hand is still writing down the answer to the current question but his eyes look at the next question. One may say that handwriting has nothing to do with math fluency. Well, I thought the same way until I've noticed that it actually helps provide an additional stimulus to stay engaged and solidify his math fluency. Probably it would be useful especially for kinesthetic learners to compliment apps with old-fashioned printed worksheets :) By the way, do you know that many mathematicians are not so fluent in Arithmetic? But that's another story about math fluency and its role in Math....

Mary Sue Dayton's picture
Mary Sue Dayton
Adult Education Instructor

For practicing multiplication facts, the 19x19 Multiplication Genius gives students a chance to choose the answer. I have found that students learn by making choices. It is colorful, extremely user friendly and challenges students. It has several levels and registers high scores. There is a free version as well as an upgrade.

Jessica's picture
3rd Grade Teacher

I enjoy using games in my classroom, especially for math. I know the students enjoy it too. The games you list seem like they would be a lot of fun and I can't wait to try some of them in my classroom. Have you found some apps to be more helpful than others? Which ones do you use the most? I would also use these as recommendations for parents to use with their child so that they can practice math concepts. Thanks for such good suggestions of apps that I can use!

Angela's picture
Instructional Aide/ Substitute Teacher from Inglewood, California

Wow! Nice Apps you listed! You really did your research and/ or have been paying attention. Tech-based learning is becoming more dominant in education. I like how rewards can be fun and beneficial for students. These apps can be used as a "reward" during their tech-allotted time. Thank you!

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