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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Problem Solving in Numeracy on the iPad

The app store is inundated with thousands of different apps for Numeracy. Some are fantastic, some not so but generally a lot follow a game like structure to help with quick calculations of the four operations. These are a great way of engaging children and giving them instant feedback so they can rectify any misconceptions straight away without having to wait for the teacher to mark their work. However I sometimes find it harder to download great apps to use for more complex maths lessons, problem solving for example.

I have found some apps that are great for problem solving which have provided some really engaging and stimulating lessons where the children have been able to develop key thinking skills to help them with their Numeracy.

Working from the National Strategies guidance the three areas of problem solving are identified as:

Here are some apps that can be used for activities linking to these three strands.

Numbers Logic Puzzle - This is a great app to use as a way of putting a problem solving activity into context. You have to add numbers next to each other reach a target number, you may make 2, 3, 4 or even 5 number combinations. So start with an activity to find all the different possibilities. The free version allows you to play the level where you add to make ten. Therefore in class you can try and find all the possibilities of making ten by using two numbers, 3 then 4 then 5. Once the children have found all the possibilities they can then apply this knowledge into the game. To read more about this lesson please click here.



The Mathelona Games - A fantastic logic problem solving app made by the wonderful http://7puzzleblog.com. This app asks children to complete a grid of number sentences by adding the digits 0-9, the only rule is that you can only use each digit twice. With different levels of ability and a time limit introduced it can be used right across Key Stage 2. What I like about it is that the children learn they have to persevere and that they may not get the answer straight away, instead need to try and try again. TO READ MORE ABOUT THE LESSON USING THIS APP CLICK HERE.



Talk Maths -  This app which is available for Year 4,5 and 6 is a superb way to encourage rich maths discussion while solving different mathematical challenges. The app has four different challenges all of which are then differentiated to use more tricky numbers. Having used this app in class, I cannot recommend it enough for the way it purposely encourages children to discuss, share ideas and work together. TO READ ABOUT THE LESSON CLICK HERE.



mzm.cyrmbvpx.175x175 75 Introducing word problems to Year 1Banana Maths - Is a great app for introducing word problems to KS1children. The app uses pictures to substitute words so that children can focus more on the specific vocabulary that helps them work out the calculation needed to solve the problem. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE USED THIS IN CLASS. Another app similar to this is Problem Solving: Choosing the correct operation. This app would be aimed more older and again helps children decode a question to work out the number sentence needed to solve a problem.



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There are some other apps which may come handy when doing problem solving activities. These are not solely focused on problem solving however can accompany activities to help children solve or demonstrate their learning:
Doodle Buddy - This is a fantastic app in general but can open some fantastic opportunities in numeracy. In the logic problems document linked at the top of this page, one of the activities involves trying to work out all the different ways to complete a maze. Children can import the worksheet as a background and then solve the problem using the app without wasting paper or endless rubbings out. 

Explain Everything - Couldn't finish without mentioning this amazing app. A presentation app that allows you to record your voice as you draw, write or look at pictures or videos. It would be an amazing way for a teacher to keep and evidence the children's though process when solving a problem. What system do they use? How do they solve it? What operations and why? It gives the children the opportunity to explain how they solve a problem which they cannot always do on paper. Although I haven't used this app for a problem solving activity, I did ask the children to show me their understanding of the column addition method - YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT HERE.



Please if you know of any other apps which can help with these sorts of activities, please comment and share. If I come across any more I will share them on this list. 

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