A nation prospers when people are good with readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic. As a teacher I know full well the value of being able to read and understand the written word, write so others comprehend, and know so much math that it hurts.
If you have school age children then you know the value of the Mac. Here’s an elegant app that’s designed to do one thing– teach math to your children. It works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
By The Numbers
My favorite Mac math app is MathBoard. It’s inexpensive, highly configurable, and good for all children from kindergarten to high school. It teaches the basics of math and few extras which are actually useful for adults, too. What makes MathBoard endearing to me is the old fashioned approach, visually, and the attention to basics, including problem solving.
One of my most memorable math teachers told students that ‘you learn math through your hand.’ That implied problem solving, pencil and paper, and the chalkboard. MathBoard uses a chalkboard metaphor on the Mac’s screen, so that’s the old fashioned look.
It starts off with specific drills– addition and subtraction– which works well on younger students, but quickly advances to multiplication and division for middle school students. Because MathBoard actually provides problems, students cannot just guess at the answers.
This is what it looks like on the iPad and iPhone screens.
Notice the scratchboard area in the floating palette? That’s a good way for students to work out problems by hand (obviously, better on iPad than Mac).
Although simple on the front end, MathBoard also comes with extensive Preferences which helps to make problems and drills easier, or more complex, as needed. Because MathBoard is configurable, it works well with students of nearly any age, and goes beyond the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It includes problems with squares, cubes, and square roots. In fact, the entire number range is configurable.
Simple algebraic equations are also available (of the single step variety), plus there are activities for find the sign, equality and inequality, and match math. Preset drills have both multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. The feature list is extensive.
- Random equation generation for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Squares, Cubes, and Square Root problems.
- Number ranges are configurable, including the ability to require certain numbers to be in each problem and the ability to omit negative answers.
- Number and order of displayed digits can be limited, allowing for equations to conform to certain learning levels (e.g. 2 digit numbers over 1 digit numbers).
- Generates simple equations, as well as single step algebraic equations. (e.g. 6+x=12; x-8=2; 5x=25).
- Intelligent problem and “wrong answer” generation makes guessing more difficult.
- Includes both multiple choice, as well as, fill in the blank style questions.
- Activities and quizzes can be timed, either as a countdown timer or elapsed time.
- Equation configuration settings can be saved for future use as well as shared with others.
All activities can be timed, either as a countdown timer, or an elapsed time for specific problems. This is a delightfully usable Mac app that works well for younger students new to math, as well as those who are moving toward algebraic equations.
Is there a better way to learn math? MathBoard is tops in my book and I’ve been teaching for 20 years. It’s also available for Windows and Android devices so it’s not completely Apple centric.