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.

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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.

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.

Mathrathon

Mathrathon

Maths apps are often dreadful and although this does fall into the category of ‘doing arithmetic fast’ it’s actually good!

The beauty of this app is that you’re not actually answering questions, you’re evaluating whether written statements are correct or wrong. This means there are only two buttons to worry about pressing and the 60 questions will fly by. You gain points for getting it right and lose for getting it wrong and your total points for the round are calculated by a neat little formula that’s explained in the app. Even the points scoring includes some maths!

I’d prefer the correct and wrong buttons to be further apart but I’ve emailed the developer and the response I got was encouraging so here’s hoping that can change in an update.

I thoroughly recommend this app as it’s a change from the usual maths speed calculation apps and is incredibly intuitive to use.

Logo For Windows8

Logo for Windows8

If you’re a maths teacher, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Logo. If not, it’s a computer program that lets you control a ‘turtle’ by giving commands such as FD 40 (Forward 40) and RT 90 (Right turn 90 degrees) so that you can build shapes. It’s a good introduction to programming since the students have to be very precise with their syntax and it also offers good opportunities for geometrical learning. For example, how many degrees do you need to turn to draw an equilateral triangle? So, in short, Logo is a good program but how is it on a tablet?

Basically, the app is good too. The main thing to bear in mind is that it’s far, far better with the tablet in portrait mode. Once a design has been finished, I’d take a screen shot to file as evidence and I think there’s value in taking screen shots of attempts that didn’t work to show progress.

I’ll be using this when my class has its geometry term.

Number Facts

Number Facts

This app is just a bit of fun designed to give you interesting facts about any integer you type in. It does have some interesting points and is worth mentioning because of the fact that it truly revels in the idea that maths is interesting in its own right (something which many students and adults could well be reminded of).

In terms of practical uses, it might add some extra spice to a write up of a project or perhaps could be used as a starter challenge. (What’s the most interesting fact you can find about a prime number under 200?)

Downsides? Well, many of the facts are obscure and difficult to understand. Some of the facts are a little bit dull too.

Overall, I do recommend this app but it probably won’t be on my main start page.