Remember learning “PEMDAS?” Despite the funny voice your teacher used while explaining it, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” somehow failed to elicit unbridled enthusiasm for math. Today, the evolution of the classroom is focused around technology that teaches concepts with students’ interests in mind. That’s where apps like “Grid Lines,” “5 Dice,” “4 Dice,” and “Ordered Fractions,” come into play. These math apps, created by developer Justin Holladay, teach core concepts of elementary and middle school math through games played on iPad or iPhone. One key way to get students interested in something? Let them learn it on a device that starts with “i.” “Grid Lines” teaches ordered pairs through an interactive game of algebraic “Battle Ship” fought on in all four quadrants. This app introduces students to the basic grid and makes them comfortable writing correct ordered pairs all while keeping them entertained. “4 Dice” uses the randomness of rolled dice to teach invaluable skills of multiplying, adding and subtracting, and dividing fractions, while “Ordered Fractions” teaches the even more difficult concept of comparing the values of fractions to determine which is larger and which is smaller. Aside from instilling a greater number sense in students, these games can also motivate with positive reinforcement that comes after every correct answer, rather than waiting to see a grade on a test. Finally, “5 Dice” teaches the granddaddy of all basic algebra concepts – the order of operations. A two-player game, it encourages both understanding and friendly competition and forces students to “work backwards” from the answer to a multiple-operation problem that it came from. In addition to updating the standard classroom math atmosphere, the apps feature the option of sending results directly from the gadget to the teacher or parent, so the data collecting is both convenient, and exact in its precision. Don’t hesitate to use these “Cool Tools” if you’re searching for a way to motivate. It may make life (and math) easier for you and for your student. Check it out here.
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