iPad Apps for Maths lessons

Here’s a rundown of some apps I use for maths teaching. Some aren’t free – but they are definitely worth paying for, I wouldn’t mention them otherwise.

1. Motion Math: Zoom

There is absolutely nothing better at developing pupil’s understanding of the scale and magnitude of numbers and negative numbers. The app is an interactive number line with proportionally sized characters to represent magnitude of numbers… the pictures are the best way to understand how it works. I use it with older pupils as well as younger ones (though I normally tell older pupils that I need their help to unlock some of the levels so that Year 7 can get on it later on that day or something – otherwise it looks too basic).

2. Coach’s Eye

This isn’t a maths app! I saw the PE department using it and whacked it on our iPad for data collection. We have so far done some timing of punches (against a punching bag rather than pupil) to then plot on a number line, work out averages and also to convert to fractions. They can compare themselves to heavy-weight boxers too, in fact there’s a clip in When We Were Kings (about 9m30s in) where Muhammad Ali talks about the speed of his punch – cue all the boys talking about which of them is faster than Ali!

3. Dragonbox2

Outstanding! If the links are properly made, then pupils will build up their skills in solving equations in a world of weird creatures and other mysterious things. The level of solving is equivalent of higher GCSE re-arranging of equations and pupils in Year 7 and Year 9 are currently getting on with them really well – it can build really strong lessons using some screen grabs which then relates the equations to workbook problems. Even as a standalone, it’s a fantastic app to scaffold pupils through understanding some algebra.

4. Thinking Blocks series

The Ratio Problems are particularly good for helping pupils understand the bar model method for solving word problems involving ratio and proportion. The bar models help pupils get a visual sense for proportion – this is particularly good if you’re considering using bar models.

5. iStopMotion

Not a maths app again, but after a quick couple lessons training, my pupils have now got a tool to make me end of topic review videos to cover what they have been learning. I specify the level of work I want to see visualised/animated and they show me they understand by making an animation. Some great stuff with fruit and fractions and ratio and drinks cups/plasticine.

Honourable mentions go to:

Foldify - make 3D shapes and nets a lot more interactive and fun with customisable character nets which pupils can add their own photos to.

CuriousRuler - good for measuring bizarre objects and even tall objects/buildings using a sense of scale. Great for outdoor work and for reinforcing ideas around proportionality.

Geogebra - plotting graphs. Obviously. Useful to have on the iPad to save hassle with loading up PCs/laptops.

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