We were contacted recently for advice on the perennial problem of how to help our kids when they’re struggling with mathematics.
In my last post I came up with a list of ten useful maths apps and digital tools for students from GCSE to university level, but what about our younger kids? Finding creative ways to make maths fun is ever-popular with teachers because (let’s face it) maths has never been cool. It’s a difficult subject, and many find that learning by stealth is the way to engage. With that in mind, here are a bunch of apps and tools to help along and inspire our darling young’uns into learning, and with a bit of luck enjoying maths.
- TES testsheets: (Year 1) Some parents might want to assess the progress of their child at home and find their level first before moving on to apps and games – you can do this by checking out the TES website and downloading their useful resources.
- OffByHeart.co.uk (ages Reception – Year 6) Heavily connected to the UK National Primary Curriculum, OffByHeart brings together some of the web’s best maths resources in one tidy place. Particularly (though not exclusively) designed to get those lagging boys excited by maths through worksheets and enjoyable online games. It’s an excellent resource for parents too – there’s a handy year-by-year guide showing breakdowns of the curriculum including what is taught, how it should be taught and where your child is expected to be by the end of the year. Very well researched.
- Numerosity: Play with Math! (ages 7-10) Educational game for the iPad teaching maths, reviewing concepts and improving numeracy skills. More than 100 levels spread over 5 chapters covering addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and the order of operations. Skruff the dog will be your fun guide throughout – dishing out neat certificates at the end of each completed chapter that children can send to parents to print out and put on the wall. Hours of fun and learning.
- Cut the Knot: Interactive Mathematics Miscellany: (all ages) Yep, it’s here again but it’s just such a good website! A plethora of maths-based puzzles and games covering algebra, arithmetic, geometry calculus – the list goes on. And on. If you really want to drill down into your mathematics revision this site beats your battered old textbook into a cocked hat.
- Native Numbers (ages 4-7, home or school) A nice looking app that helps young kids learn the concept of numbers and basic maths skills, focusing on laying down a proper foundation in Number Sense . 25 engaging activities aim to engage children directly through an individualised, intrinsically rewarding learning experience while minimising distractions – what some people call ‘hard fun’.
- Numerosity: Play with Addition! (ages 6-8) iPad app that teaches addition by getting kids to play with numbers and discover the rules by themselves, at their own pace. Skruff is back on hand throughout the 20 levels to give out printable certificates for achievement, and kids can create profiles and challenge friends.
- EducationCity.com (ages 6-11) Used in over 15,500 schools and countless homes across the country, this website is packed full of educational games and activities. UK curriculum-linked numeracy activities help get your children practising core skills as the levels get progressively more difficult, yet never stray from the fun side of learning.
- Pop Math (ages 5-7) Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, this cartoon-style fantasy marine app will exercise your child’s mental arithmetic with fairly simplistic, colourful game based learning.
- fun4thebrain.com (ages Reception – Year 6) Website full of cool maths games, quizzes, tests and more covering addition, subtraction and division. Though this is an American website, there are links to 20 maths practice problems for all years aligned with the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh curriculums.
- funschool.kaboose.com (ages 5+) 33 different maths games ranging from the sublime to the bizarre. Err, that’s it – take a look! I guess both you and your child are going to need a certain amount of tech awareness and computer skill for this list to be of any use, but I hope you find some small nugget that serves to engage or inspire your ailing angel into an understanding – better still a thirst for maths.
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