Equations – The Maths Game

Here’s another maths app review.

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This game has different levels that are unlocked as you go through. In general, I find this to be a good structure for games.

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The main bulk of the game involves moving two sliders to make the answer given. Each slider controls numbers in a certain times table (which you’re not explicitly told) and seem to go into negative numbers frequently. The game isn’t too bad but it’s far too hard to start with. I would consider using this with some high ability students that were looking for a challenge but I don’t think the game is particularly engaging. It didn’t make me want to keep playing so if it’s just about practising something lots of times then I can probably think of another way.

Tables Champ

I thought I’d get back into doing an app review.

This one is called Table Champ so you can probably guess what it’s about.

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You have to touch the multiple choice answers and if you get several in a row, you get an extra 5 seconds.

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I’ll put aside my usual concerns about how maths is simply not just about times tables for the time being.

The multiple choice is a little bit odd but I suppose this probably makes better use of the touch screen and avoiding typing.

My two concerns are that if you’re good, you can be there a long time due to the added seconds. Also, when you run out of time:

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It doesn’t keep  track of your high score. This means you can’t keep track of any progress. (l don’t mean this in a teacher way.)

In summary, it’s not the worst app but I can’t see I’d choose this over something like, say, Mangahigh.

It’s been a while

Well, it’s fair to say there have been quite a few issues with getting tablets up and running.

Things are beginning to move on again so I’m going to add some more to this blog in the near future.

How many multiplications are needed?

In year 7, we do a maths project called Diagonal Differences. It used to be a GCSE coursework piece before they got scrapped and involves picking a 2 by 2 box out of a 10 by 10 number grid. You multiply the opposite corners of your chosen box and find the difference between the two answers.

The main purposes behind the investigation are to get students to think mathematically, investigating an unknown situation. They are encouraged to make conjectures and generalise their findings. We want them to find patterns and consider describing them algebraically. We make use of an algebraic proof to show that a 2 by 2 box will always have a difference of 10. We want them to extend the project. It’s full of mathematical opportunities.

We also want them to show us they can multiply two digit numbers. And, here’s the problem.

Subtangent

This website (http://www.subtangent.com/maths/ig-diagdiff.php) can do all the calculations for you. You can tell it what size grid and box you want, drag the grid to the right place and it’ll do the sums for you.

If someone can multiply a two digit number by another one confidently, should they just use this site (or a calculator) to help them discover patterns more quickly?

The website won’t do the algebra for them. It does give a hint if you click the ‘show algebra’ button:

Subtangent2

I think I feel like they should be allowed to use the site once they’ve convinced me they can do the multiplying. If they really can multiply efficiently, I don’t need them to keep doing it and I do want them to be able to look for patterns and describe them algebraically.

So, the question is, how many multiplications are needed to convince me? I don’t know the answer to that. I have some ideas but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Some initial thoughts

The students are VERY excited. Naturally, they love having a tablet and I’m pleased to say there hasn’t been much grumbling from all the other students who don’t have a tablet. They’ve been really quite understanding about it.

There have been many teething issues, as expected. These include:

  • Not being able to access the app store in school. This is something to do with ports but that’s about as much as I understand.
  • Some students not being able to activate their microsoft account at home. We’re recommending they try creating a new one.
  • Some students not being able to access the app store at home. Again, try a new microsoft account.
  • Uncharged tablets. In the early days, we’re being a bit lenient with this. I will be expecting students to have charged them fully once we’re more on track.
  • Arbitrary differences between tablets. One student can access the app store in school. To tablets wouldn’t run Mangahigh.co.uk, asking for flash to be installed. One I fixed easily by following the instructions, one I can’t tell what’s going on. One tablet not letting a student access mymaths.co.uk for no obvious reason.

Again, it’s worth emphasising how excited the students are and they are demonstrating great resilience and flexibility in their approach to the tablets.

I’ve asked them to install the following apps to see how I can use them:

  • FlashQuiz
  • Record Voice and Pen
  • QR reader

More details to follow.

And so it begins….

We’ll, the start of term didn’t get off to a brilliant start with delays in both delivery of tablets and in the key part of the wifi nodes.
Having held off until as much as possible was in place and with students chomping at the bit, the major of the trial class were given their tablets yesterday.

Parents had to come in to school to collect them from the deputy head teacher in charge of the project so now the majority of them are out with just a few left to sort out.

You can expect more updates from now on!

Practical point one: we’re encouraging them to put a distinctive sticker on the back of the case that includes their name. They’ll have to lock them in the PE office during those lessons so we want an easy way of giving them back out.

Physamajig

Physamajig

This app was recommended by a ‘top ten Windows 8 apps’ article and it lets you create a game using some physics laws.

I didn’t really have the patience to work through how to do it but I suspect it might be useful for ICT teachers in designing games. I’m not convinced about its use for teaching physics but I’d need a science teacher to have a look really.