Achieving the Early Learning Goals for Maths using 8 Great iPad Apps
I’m pleased to introduce a guest post from Eric Pramono, app reviewer extraordinaire from Geeks with Juniors. I asked Eric to recommend some apps for helping young children with maths, as this is something I haven’t yet covered on the blog. I am looking forward to trying some of his recommendations, and hope it helps other parents looking for the best maths apps out there!
I am a long time educator, a maths geek at heart, and a parent to two beautiful sons: Philip (3) and Noah (1). In addition to a day job at a local University, I have a review site that I run with my colleague Camila, in an attempt to share the best educational apps that we find on the App Store.
Over the past 11 months, I have stumbled upon plenty of great maths apps. Some of them try to aim for a particular skill, some try to cover several skills at the same time, while others try to adhere to a particular curriculum.
But it wasn’t until I reviewed Shiny Party that I was exposed to several national curriculums that the developers used as a frame of reference. As a parent who is always eager to provide the best forms of education for my juniors, I was excited to find the following resources:
- The US Common Core Standards for Kindergarten
- The UK Primary National Curriculum for Key Stage 1
- The NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum for Early Stage 1
For this post, I will focus on early learning goals for maths and numbers in the UK Primary National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and the Early Years Foundation Stage for age 5 and under. If you read the framework documentation, you will find the early learning goals for maths and numbers are:
“Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.”
If I may add one goal to the ones I already stated, it’s the ability to write numbers and speak the words fluently.
Learning the Basics
Instead of dissecting each app in detail, as I normally do on my site, I’m going to highlight how each app can help our juniors in achieving the above goals. I have included a link to a more in-depth review of each app on our site if you want to learn more about them.
The first app on the list is TallyTots. The app allows juniors to identify numbers from 1 to 20, and even extend it to 100 if they want to. It emphasises the concept of counting through various repetitions; for example, when you select a number, the app counts from 1 to that number.
The next app is LetterSchool. This is a high quality app that not only introduces juniors to numbers from 1 to 10, but also how to write them. The app supports multiple handwriting styles, i.e. D’Nealian style, Handwriting Without Tears style, and Zaner-Bloser style. I believe it’s important for juniors to learn various handwriting styles, or at least to recognise them easily.
Once your juniors are familiar with reading and writing the numbers from 1 to 20, they’re ready for the next stage in learning. Mathlandia is a good app that covers everything from number recognition, ordering, and counting for juniors ages two and under.
For juniors ages three and up, the app offers the concept of increment (+1) and decrement (-1). Finally, in its last two activities, the app introduces the concept of adding and subtracting by combining two groups of objects and taking away objects from the initial group.
The fourth app that can help you with learning the basics is Montessori 1st Operations. It’s a very comprehensive maths app, covering various concepts like addition, subtraction, odd/even numbers, and halves/doubles. The app has a set of interesting games that can keep your juniors engaged for quite a long time. It also introduces you to how to construct your own addition and subtraction tables.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
When it comes to maths, there really is no easy shortcut if you want to be good. Just like any other skills in life, you just need to practice for as long and as frequently as you can. Our juniors are very fortunate to live in an era where great apps are available to help them practise in fun ways.
The first app that I’d like to highlight is Sakura Quick Math. What’s special about the app is its intuitive input method which allows you to write down your answers directly on screen. As of today, Philip is very fluent with his handwriting and enjoys practising the basic addition problems by himself. The app supports multiple user profiles and difficulty levels, allowing you to use it according to the current learning level of your juniors.
Once your juniors are fluent with their basic arithmetic skills, they can try out Mystery Math Town. This app is a bit more challenging because it requires the players to correctly find a combination of two operands that would solve an equation. This forces juniors to perform several mental calculations before selecting their answers. The beautiful design, storyline, and gameplay make playing this game an immersive experience. I’ve seen Philip play it for a very long time in a single sitting, and I’m sure that your juniors would enjoy it too.
If you want additional app resources that can help your juniors learn these maths concepts, I would recommend the following two apps.
Math Superheroes is an app that also covers several topics – including patterns, sequences, and shapes. It’s not a maths workbook app with randomly generated problems like the ones I’ve highlighted previously, but it has helpful Learning sections that offer beautiful infographics for explaining maths concepts visually to your juniors. My only wish is for the developers to release them in printable PDF formats.
If you’re looking for the learning goals set by US Common Core Standard, you might want to check out Splash Math Kindergarten. It’s a great maths workbook app designed to adhere to the US Common Core Standard for Kindergarten level. The app has a comprehensive set of maths exercises divided into eight chapters and many sub-chapters within them. It also includes chapters on Geometry and Measurement.
I do hope that my exposure to these apps can help other parents with providing their juniors with the best iPad apps to aid their learning journeys in maths. It’s a very important subject, and with the help of a fun and challenging learning environment, your juniors can learn to love it.
If you want to learn more about how you can help your juniors to learn maths, I’d suggest you join an upcoming online course from Stanford University on How to Learn Math. The course is designed to change the relationships that your juniors might have with the subject. It’s perfect for teachers and parents who are the closest helpers to juniors in learning maths.
Note: Eric is a geek dad of two: Philip (3) and Noah (1). He started Geeks with Juniors with Camila to help other parents who are looking for ways to utilise technology to help their juniors in their learning journeys. To interact with him, you can follow him on Twitter or visit their Facebook page.