Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Virtual Manipulatives

App: Virtual Manipulatives
Cost: Free
Download Here

Virtual Manipulatives is a free app that allows students to move around blocks representing fractions. The children can drag them onto a workspace and match them up to compare and contrast. The student can also draw on the workspace to indicate instructions. What I enjoy most about this is that it is a free way to have students working with Manipulatives, just as the name of the program says.

Pros: There are a lot of manipulative options for the student to use. A very useful feature is the ability to press and hold on the fraction to see its decimal form and percentage. You can also save your workspace as an image and email it.

Cons: The fraction manipulatives do not snap together so it is very easy to accidentally overlay them and have them not quite match up. For little fingers, it would be best to have some sort of snap ability written into the system Also, the drawing tool is very rudimentary and the eraser is not quite intuitive. You have to tap multiple times on the eraser to erase, instead of dragging it over what you want to erase.

Overall, this app is good for perhaps older students who are still working with fractions, decimals, and percents. But its finicky way of aligning the bars is a little too "fine motor" for younger students. The free price for this app, however, makes up for its somewhat rudimentary features.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mad Math Lite

Cost: Free

Mad Math Lite offers plenty of opportunity for kids to practice their basic math functions. As each question is presented, players must enter the correct answer via a calculator-like answer pad. Instead of being allowed to use multiple choice options for guessing, students are required to come up with an answer independently. 

Pros: The students can each have their own accounts on the game so that their progress can be monitored and individual. This allows them time to work at their own pace instead of keeping up with the other students. This app also allows for the students to write on the their answer in case they need to carry over for subtraction or addition. The students are able to mark the problems any way the feel the need to. 

Cons: This is only a free version of the app. Mad Math 2 cost $1.99