Apps, Programs and Websites
Apps, Programs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids
Math
CueThink

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Synthesis, Analysis, Application

Costa: Level II and III

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Modeling, Experimentation, Planning, Teamwork, Describing

Website: http://www.cuethink.com/

This is a unique program. The most important part of this program is that teachers or parents can create assignments which are then completed by their students or child. But the best part of this program is that the kids, using what are called “Thinklets,” and using a four step process involving understanding, planning, solving, and reviewing, create electronic visual books which can be shared with others, including students in the class. Essentially the kids become teachers. Think also of CueThink as making visible that which in math is sometimes invisible. When creating their products, the students have access to hiliters, scratchpads, and they can even make videos to illustrate parts of the math problem they are solving. This program is best used as an occasional add-on or reinforcing agent in the classroom.

Overall: This is a very methodical and disciplined approach to visual problem solving in math. Five Stars ★★★★★

DragonBox 12+

Grades: 6-8

Level of Difficulty: Low to Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Application, Comprehension, Application

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Diagnosis, Judgment

Website: http://www.dragonboxapp.com/index.html

This is one of the better Algebra apps or programs you can purchase for your child to have available in the home or to use as a supplement in the classroom. This program does cost money—after all, sometimes quality costs. What is different about DragonBox from other math programs is that it focuses exclusively on Algebra topics and, more importantly, it has a visual drop-and-drag component that is user-friendly to the kids trying to solve the math problem. Algebra, though it is abstract, is all about balancing equations, so this program is—not surprisingly—all about balancing equations. A cute dragon, which grows bigger and bigger with the more problems which are balanced correctly, is a center piece of the design. There are two versions of this program, the 5+ or the 12+ version. You are probably going to focus on the 12+ version and ignore the other edition.

Overall: Erasing incorrect answers is no longer a problem with the drag and slide feature in this program. This is faster. Five Stars ★★★★★

Get the Math

Grades: 8-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Application, Comprehension

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Evaluation, Diagnosis

Website: http://www.thirteen.org/get-the-math/

This is an app which targets beginning Algebra students. The most attractive features of this app are that the videos are very well done and are related to things students might experience or which exist in the real world. For example, one of the videos contains a former #1 NBA draft pick talking about how Algebra can be used to determine the height of the basketball at any point while the shooter is trying to make a free throw. This is what is unique about this program—it avoids the tedious repetition of math problem after math problem without any connection to anything in the real world. Topics include music, fashion, video games, special effects, and basketball. Kids who are learning Algebra will like this site but it probably isn’t a stand-alone Algebra class. It’s more of a supplemental to Algebra.

kids learn Algebra, which is one of the more difficult abstract courses middle school kids take. Four Stars ★★★★

Khan Academy

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Application, Comprehension, Knowledge

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Evaluation, Diagnosis, Judgment

Website: https://www.khanacademy.org/

Khan Academy is one of the more famous non-profit educational websites in the world. What started out as one individual making math videos to help his child has mushroomed into an international organization that has received millions of dollars of grant money to make more videos and interactive slides to help kids understand math concepts. Khan Academy has recently expanded into other curricular areas—such as science, history, and economics—but we’ll keep our focus on math. The curriculum on this website is laid out by grade and common mathematical topics taught within that grade level. Students have been using Khan Academy for a long time to help them understand a mathematical concept that was taught in math class. For example, if the sixth grade math teacher talks about a the area of a triangle, any student can to go Khan Academy and find a video or description of the area of a triangle, watch the video and take the math practice questions to help them understand the concept better. This is a great deal for students. Teachers can also show videos from the site to the entire classroom. Parents who are homeschooling their kids also use this website a lot.

Overall: This is where education is heading into the future. Some of their videos aren’t very exciting to watch but this is also one of the first places you should look for additional instruction on a plethora of mathematical topics. Five Stars ★★★★★

Mathalicious

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Analysis, Application, Comprehension

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Diagnosis, Judgment

Website: http://www.mathalicious.com/

Mathalicious is a paid website which offers a hodgepodge of lessons and activities for both teachers and students. Many of the videos and lessons attempt to integrate real-world problems into the math lesson. Consequently, this avoids being simply a dull and dry “fill-out-the-worksheet” activity. The creators of the site obviously enjoy having fun and you will see this part of their personalities coming out in the videos which are connected to mathematical problems. This is the real benefit of the materials at this site—their slightly off-center and non-traditional look at the mathematical world. There are multimedia slideshows and teacher guides which are available.

Overall: This is a program which is probably used as an occasional filler for the regular math classroom, especially if your goal is to bring some math mirth into the room or kitchen. Four Stars ★★★★

Ten Marks

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Low to Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Application, Comprehension, Knowledge

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Diagnosis, Judgement

Website: https://goo.gl/8BsLSt

TenMarks is one of the programs fighting for survival on the math intervention battleground. Many companies are racing to create sites and apps which supplement what is going on in the regular classroom. TenMarks is one of the better sites you can steer your kids toward, though you need to clearly understand this is better used as a supplement to the regular math curriculum and should not be used as THE math curriculum. Teachers will find the dashboard useful and they will be able to monitor individual kids or the entire class. The gist of this program is that kids will work through tracks which ask them questions. As kids work through the math problems, they will have access to hints, videos, and reinforcement. The problems are adaptive, so they will change based on how well the student is answering questions. There are even intervention modules for kids to work their way through if the program detects the student is guessing or doesn’t understand the concept.

Overall: For many, deciding which math intervention program they pick-up is rather like selecting an automobile. Virtually everything will get you to your destination. Some automobiles will be cheaper and less efficient while others will be more expensive and efficient. Sometimes it will simply be a matter of taste. Chrysler or Ford? It may not matter. But this is the Acura of the mathematical world. Five Stars ★★★★★

Think Through Math

Grades: 5-9

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Bloom’s New Taxonomy: Analysis, Application, Comprehension

Costa: Level I and II

Schank’s Cognitive Processes: Diagnosis, Judgement

Website: http://www.thinkthroughmath.com/

This website is gaining traction as a go-to source for math teachers and parents. The attraction of Think Through Math is that it is a complete program which could be used for the entire math curriculum or as a supplementary aid. I can easily see Think Through Math being used as a supplement to what is going on in the regular classroom. RTI programs may find a program like Think Through Math to be what they are looking for. This program has an adaptive placement test, which teachers will like. Each lesson has points the students can accumulate and an explanation is provided for each correct and incorrect answer. There are pre-and post-quizzes the students also take. There is an option, if kids get stuck, for them to talk with someone on the chat menu and get feedback as to what they are doing wrong. The dashboard is fairly extensive, which will make this program attractive to classroom teachers, as they can, if they wish, put their entire class into the program. This program will cost money.

Overall: This is intended to be a regimented and methodical approach through the math curriculum. It is not intended for those spot occasions when students need support from someone other than their math teacher. Those students will get faster information through something like Khan Academy. Five Stars ★★★★★

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