As a math-lover and techie, I bought an iPad immediately after its release and eagerly set about filling it to capacity with tools that might help students master number sense. My iPad has hundreds of math apps; some free, but many that I’ve paid up to $9.99 to download.
AT BER’s Math Conferences, I present a session entitled, “The Best iPad Apps for Teaching Math”. Despite the abundance of math apps, there are less than a dozen in the iTunes store that list themselves as “Singapore Math®” apps. As you might imagine, some of them are better than others; some of them are more “Singaporean” than others.
Below are descriptions of “Singapore” apps currently available and my candid opinions of each.
Number Bonds Memorizer - $2.99
Find all the number bonds. Levels 1 – 10, allow students to focus on just the number combinations through ten. After that, you’ve mastered the game. The 1-player mode has all the numbers face-up, the 2-player mode has the numbers face down like a Memory-style game.
Opinion? While the game is simple and has minimal levels, the basic number bond practice is solid. This is worth $2.99.
Number Bonds: Addition & Subtraction to 99 - $1.99
-Pond Bonds - Find the missing part for numbers 0-10 using frogs.
-Bird Bonds – Find the missing part or whole for numbers 0-20 using numbers (on birds)
-Which Number? – Gives a number bond with a missing part and five possible solutions. Students choose the correct one. Numbers 0-99
-Which Bond? – Players are shown a number & two number bonds and asked, “Which bond does this number belong to?”
All games allow players to set the range of numbers, time allowed to solve a problem and have a pass and play option for up to four players.
Opinion? One of the rare apps to actually use a number bond format. Worth $1.99 if you can convince your child to use it. When not actually playing the game, 1/3 of the screen is taken up by an advertisement for the developers other game.
Number Bonds: Multiplication & Division to 99 - $1.99
-Bird Bonds – Find the missing product - numbers 0-20
-Bot Bonds – Choose the missing factor from a conveyor belt
-Which Number? – Gives a number bond with missing factors. Players choose the two numbers that will make the correct product. Numbers 1-99
-Which Bond? – Players are shown a number & two number bonds and asked, “Which bond does this number belong to?” (First problem given was 72, factors were 9 x 8 or 1 x 1)
Opinion? Singapore materials do not use a number bond format for multiplicative relationships. I found this game hard to play as I was always thinking “additive”. If it confuses an adult, what will your child do? Save your $1.99 for a more engaging fact practice app. When not actually playing the game, 1/3 of the screen is taken up by an ad for the Addition and Subtraction version of the game.
Choose “Practice” or “Test” mode, the select number bonds to 10,20,50 or 100. In Practice mode, players are given a missing addend problem. Tap the “?” and the missing number appears. In “Test” mode, Your choices are: fact range, multiple choice or keypad entry answers, timed or not, and easy, medium hard.
Opinion? I like the missing addend format but there’s nothing particularly ”Singaporean” about this app. It provides video flash cards.
Addition and subtraction using numbers up to 100 through number bonds. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.
Opinion? While the math in this game is great, I couldn’t get a student to play for more than two minutes. The game moves slowly and students found it “boring”. It is rather repetitive.
Truly flash cards. There’s nothing interactive about this app. A fact is shown, click on it and it flips over to show the back side. What sets the flash cards apart is that on the back, they not only have the answer, but a strategy for the fact as well. The Multiplication/Division version uses an array model on the back of the card to provide a visual for the fact.
Opinion: Flash cards that provide a strategy. These wouldn’t be my first choice for a practice app.
Arithmetic Wiz Free – Singapore Math Drills - Free for level 1 addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - $2.99 for 14 additional levels
Video flash cards. If you need flash card practice, here it is. The only thing that makes this “Singapore” math is that the company that created the program is based in Singapore.
Opinion? Meh. More flash cards
NEW: Thinking Blocks apps
Thinking Blocks Ratios teaches children how to model and solve word problems with the Singapore Bar Model Method. The website has been available for almost 10 years, now in an easy to use ipad format.
Available for grades 2-5
Free to download, includes 2 free problems, then $9.99 in-app purchase for each grade level.
Opinion? Meh. That’s a lot to spend when Thinking Blocks is currently free.
While Splash Math is aligned to Common Core State Standards, it comes up in an iTunes search for ‘Singapore Math”. The company has a California address, however the founder and all open positions are based in India, which accounts for the term “learnt” in the app. This is a nice series of apps some of which start out free, but have plenty of in-app opportunities to expand. For a price. Here’s an example:
Here’s what’s great about the app:
- Instead of standard flash card style questions, the problems are varied and use visual models. Children drag and drop shapes, pop bubbles, rotate clock hands and more to solve problems.
- Visual models include ten frames, base-ten blocks, number lines, coins, fraction models, etc.
- It’s adaptive, as students improve, harder levels are unlocked.
- Your child’s progress will be emailed to you weekly.
Opinion? This app will replace a years worth of worksheets!
These apps come direct from Singapore and align to the current Ministry of Education Syllabus. Questions in the apps are free, but solutions (with bar models!) cost $0.99 for each level.
Opinion? At less than a buck, these apps are much better than running down to Barnes & Noble to pick up a workbook of extra problems. The problems are challenging and written Singapore, not American style. Have fun!
No links on iTunes web store, but these will show up in your iTunes iPad store.
These apps provide video tutorials of Primary 6 concepts. Ratings in the store are pretty dismal. The teacher is simply demonstrating a procedural method of solving a problem, which you can get at Khan Academy for free.
Opinion? Overpriced at $0.99 each.
Singapore Math Trail – Free
Cruise along the Singapore River, disembarking at various places of national and cultural significance. Answer heritage questions and solve relevant mathematics problems to move ahead on your journey.
Opinion? It’s free and it’s fun. And you just may learn something about Singapore. Enjoy!Scridb filter