[Updated February 2015]

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 now dozens! 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
Bar Models
Computation
Subscription Services
Books
Other

Number Bonds:

Number Bonds Memorizer – \$2.99

Find all the number bonds. Ten levels 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.

Four games:
-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.

Four games:
-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.

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.

Archimedes Roost – \$2.99

Kindergarten app based on Singapore Number Bonds and Montessori using parts and wholes and Montessori bead chain and strip board manipulatives. Includes addition and subtraction within 20. Fully narrated for non-readers.

Opinion? Great graphics and engaging activities.  Good number bond and missing addend problems. This is worth \$2.99.

Maths Facts – \$0.99

Four choices: Number Bonds and Fact Families practice to Ten, Addition & Subtraction to Ten. No ability to differentiate or make it more difficult. Addition & Subtraction is find the sum or difference.

Opinion? Simple and minimal levels. Very basic, froze a couple of times, but only 99¢.

Place Value Cards Cards – \$0.99 each

A number is given and you must show it two different ways, for example if 3 tens and 6 ones is given, you could also make 36 with 2 tens and 16 ones.

• Level 1: Tens and Ones
• Level 2: Hundreds, Tens, and One
• Level 3: Thousands, Hundreds, Tens and Ones
• Level 4: Hundreds, Tens, Ones, and Tenths
• Level 5: Tens, Ones, Tenths, and Hundredths

Number Bond Cards – \$0.99 each

• Level 1: Ten Frames and
• Level 2: Number Bonds with missing whole
• Level 3: Number Bonds with missing part

Opinion? Both of these apps are very simple and have minimal levels. If your child needs this targeted practice you could spend the 99¢.

Bar Models:

Thinking Blocks apps – Free

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.

Opinion?  Best bar model app out there. And they’re free.

Singapore Math, Bar Models App for iPad

Opinion?  Meh. That’s a lot to spend when Thinking Blocks is currently free.

Visual Word Problems  – \$4.99

Designed to help 1st and 2nd grade school children to visualize, understand and solve basic addition & subtraction word problems, this is a guided, easy to use app for early learners. I really like how prompted the steps are to maneuver through the program and that the default option is to have the app read the problems aloud. The animated word problems that use actual pictures of cows, oranges and apples are fabulous. They are laid out as a definite precursor to the bar modeling that begins in grade 3.

Opinion? Worth the \$4.99, but this is not a game. If you would like your child working some basic addition & subtraction word problems, here’s your app.

Xyla and Yabu  – \$0.99

Help Xyla and Yabu trade gems back and forth by learning to add and subtract with number bonds. Use the relative sizes of number bond bars representing parts and wholes to develop number sense while solving word problems. Understand and become automatic at using tens, doubles, and other recurring patterns with numbers.

Each number bond is presented in the context of a word  problem. After mastering sums up to 20 (14 activities), kids explore similar patterns with sums up to 100 (13 activities), for 10 levels in all. There is no option to have the app read the problems aloud. In numbers to 20, there is a picture and a bar hint, in numbers to 100, just some bar hints. After the beginning levels, three possible answers are given.

Opinion? Best 99¢ you can spend on a word problem app for grades 1-2 working with parts and wholes to 100

Computation Apps:

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 -\$1.99 for 14 additional levels

Video flash cards for the four operations. If you need flash card practice, here it is. Progress is trackable. The only thing that makes this “Singapore” math is that the company that created the program is based in Singapore. Here’s a telling quote from their site:

“Son, do the drills now. Show me some progress before you play the other games.”

Opinion? Meh. More flash cards.

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:

1st Grade Maths: Splash Math Worksheets App for Numbers, Counting, Addition, Subtraction and others

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!

Let’s Count – Free

For ages 3-6, this is a very basic app with four options. Order quantities of jelly beans from least to greatest, count and label bars to ten, Count beans to ten, match numbers.

Opinion? Well, it’s free and doesn’t take up much memory.

Practice Math with Robin and Dob – \$2.99
Practice Times Tables with Robin and Dob – \$1.99 NEW

Master addition and subtraction with math whizzes Robin and Dob. 10 levels of each, addition & subtraction, no customizing. The dog pops up when you’ve taken too long and offers help in the form of an abacus, tens and ones place value chart with apples or the problem stacked instead of horizontal. Adorable!

Opinion? While the game is simple and has minimal levels, the basic practice is solid (and adorable!).  This is worth \$2.99.

Crackers and Goo – \$2.99

Crackers and Goo uses patterns to teach children to identify patterns and see parts of wholes. Flying crackers need to be dragged down to complete the problems. Starts very basic and finishes with rounding then multiplying 898, 899, 900. Yikes! Mental math strategies are explained.

16 levels with 5 mini-levels on each

• Grades K-1: game levels 1-4
• Grades 2-3: game levels 5 – 7
• Grades 4-5: game levels 8 – 11
• Grades 5 and up: game levels 12 – 16

Opinion? Great, if repetitive, practice. Turn the volume down on the annoying music. I can’t see kids playing this for long, but it is more of a “game” than typical flash cards. I dig this app, but not sure about young students.

Math Master Bingo – Free to download, 99¢ in-app purchase for unlimited play.

Practice your four operations with Bingo. Choose the operands rang and the operation. (% is used for ÷). Answer questions until you get five in a row.Every 5 problems, it asks you to upgrade. Has two buttons on homescreen to send you to Facebook, only one for Twitter

Jingle’s Puzzle – \$1.99

For grades 3-6, the website claims this app is designed Singapore primary school’s mathematics model methods.  Good luck with that. This is a problem-solving, logic game. Sums are listed on the left and top of an array and some of the squares are filled in. Students find the pattern and complete the grid.

Opinion? I think the words of the single reviewer say it best:VERY confusing…Not for young child…There is NO app support. I want a refund.

Math Olympiad – Free for first 6 problems, then \$15.99 per level to unlock.

Designed for 8-12 year olds, this app has official competition questions from the Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad for Primary Schools. And the 6 problems that are included are exactly the types of problems seen on the U.S. version of the Math Olympiads for Elementary & Middle Schools.

Opinion?  This might be a great purchase for Math Olympiad teams looking for new problems. The levels are less expensive than the books in the MOEMS store.

Pri 5 Math – \$0.99 each
Pri 6 Math

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. (2/2015 – Not sure these are available to U.S. market anymore)

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!

Grade 6 Singapore Math  – \$0.99 or Android \$1.54
Grade 7 Singapore Math – \$0.99
Grade 8 Singapore Math – \$0.99

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.

Subscription Services:

Hey Math! from Singapore – Subscriptions from \$0.99

Videos and practice with multiple levels from Singapore’s #1 online learning site. Hey Math! is an official Partner of the Academy of Singapore Teachers. They also  make Factorama – which my 17 year old son loves to challenge me on.

Opinion? This is a very good iPad version of the online site. The videos are very directed and the practice is like an online worksheet.

Smartest Singapore – Free

Online learning game for Singapore primary school children. Students play in 60 second speed challenges in languages, mathematics and general knowledge. There is no way I could see to customise this app to focus on mathematics. You need to choose a Singapore primary school in order to register and there is no option for “other” or “homeschool”. If you’d like to study up on topics, there is an option. Choose from activities,  animals, food, Geography, Plants, the MRT (subway in Singapore, Singapore history & famous people or a language. you never know when the Chinese word for bricklayer may come in handy.

Opinion?  Pass. Unless you want your child deciding if a picture is of Chimgan Mountain in Uzbekistan or Global Geoparak in Hong Kong. Game portion works about 50% of the time.

Math Mastery!– Free

Secondary and Middle school topics. Supports Ace-Learning.com, who also declares itself the “leading online Mathematics E-Learning system in Singapore”. Must be a registered user of Ace Learning to use.

Math Exam Revision Kit – Free

Also by ACE-Learning Systems and so must be registered to get the full app. Secondary and Middle school topics including notes, questions with guided solutions and more practice questions.

Matholia iMath tools & Essential Practice – Also on Android – Free to download, paid subscription to access

For grades 1-6, Matholia is an another online mathematics learning portal providing pupils, teachers and parents with dedicated content based on the latest primary maths syllabus from the Singapore Ministry of Education – or you could get the U.S. version. Try the program free for 7 days with a code, then you must subscribe to continue. Ther are practice learn and games option available on the desktop version as well as Singapore math tools and virtual manipulatives for differentiated interaction.

Books:

More Mathematical Quickies & Trickies  – \$9.99
Designed for students in grades 6 and up, this is an ipad version of a book of math and math puzzlers. From the Amazon description:

Mathematical Quickies & Trickies contains more than 300 non-routine problems to enhance students’ problem-solving skills. With many creative worked examples and questions, and with cartoons sprinkled throughout the book, Mathematical Quickies & Trickies would appeal primarily to grade 6 and above students and teachers looking for some fertile trick and tricky questions; mathletes preparing for local and regional contests and competitions; problem solvers longing to be challenged by questions whose obvious solutions are never the correct ones for what offhand appears to be true is false.

Opinion? Cheaper than the books.

Other:

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!

2048 SG Army  – Free

Version of 2048 in which you match tiles to earn your way through the Singapore Armed Forces

Opinion? Probably not for your typical child. I made it through the ranks to Staff Sargent through sheer luck. Stick with the regular numbers version.

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