Making Maths APPier! by Des Hegarty

Making Maths APPier! by Des Hegarty

Back again for more ‘APP’-tastic apps – this time I’ve selected a few of the best Maths (or ‘Math’ for our American cousins) Apps on the market. I’ve been trying these out in class and again some are ideal for early morning work or to be fitted in as a starter or to be used as an investigative opportunity or a way to consolidate what they have already learnt. However you mean to use them they will totally engage the class and can add another exciting layer to lessons. We’re also looking for different opportunities for children to talk about maths too and I would always follow up any tablet work with a discussion of terms and what was achieved. With my Year 1 class I always get them to share their i-pads in pairs and they swap every few minutes. In this way they get to talk to each other about what they are doing and instinctively they narrate about the APP they are using to their partner. In my teacgher role I will descend upon them with quick consolidatory or next step questioning to get them thinking even more. I tend to target the observer as they are watching patiently (-sometimes, not so patiently but we’ll gloss over that for the purpose of this article.)

As the class are slip-sliding away across their tablets there is always an enthusiastic energy and it’s that energy you want your class to feel about maths and their learning as a whole.  So, calling all Primary Teachers – let’s App-reciate maths together with these maths Apps!

Graphs (Free – KS1/2)

Pie charts, Line graphs and bar charts are all part of this free APP. As well Q&A on data interpretation you can also learn about mean, mode and median. I actually made a pie chart detailing how much I thought you were going to like this App. An overwhelming 100% of you liked it

What time is it Mr Wolf? (0.69p – KS1/2)

This is another award winner for ‘Best App Ever’ 2013 for children under 9 and I agree (even as a teacher over 39!) As a player, you get to choose what times you want displayed and also whether you would like the time digitally shown or in words. Mr Wolf uses the full moon to display his times which he then spins to show different times.  As a generous wolf at heart, he gives the player up to 8 answers tochoose from (though you can select less in the menu.) It’s particularly good for revising those tricky ‘to’ times on an analogue display. It’s a howling success – Ha! Get it? It’s a HOWLING success!….never mind…!

What Time is it, Mr Wolf? (£1.49 – KS1/2)

This is a little bit cuter than our previous wolf and has features to demonstrate time which is particularly good to help students to bring them to an understanding of how time passes. There’s more teaching in this App, so there’s good points to discussThere’s even a screen shot which invites you to ‘Click to feel the time’. Darn clever, I say.

Maths facts: number bond & fact families (0.69p – KS1)

Here’s a very useful App for KS1 classes getting to grips with addition and subtraction facts and the relationships with numbers in number sentences. Lots of fun and easy to play games incorporating missing numbers and inverse operations, and the like. It is simply set out and a great maths way to start a learning day.

Pizza Fractions (0.69p KS1/2)

Learning fractions is as simple as ordering pizza! The pizza chef ensures it’s not just mozzarella and pepperoni on your mind, but how to share your slices out too. You can compare, create and check your answers. This has simple graphics and an easy to play game format to build confidence in fractions. Guaranteed to make you feel quite hungry after all that maths! Your class will end up asking whether there could be a delivery after break time.

Math Bingo (0.69p – KS1/2)

This has been a featured App in several noted publications.  Choose your player to answer and select your operation to answer questions to match on your bingo grid. Students can even have a mixture of questions to answer to get them thinking quickly between signs. An award winner, and a thoroughly decent app!

KS2 SATs Maths (£2.99 – KS2)

As a revision tool this is something your students can be advised to upload on their devices at home.  There’s over 500 SATs questions given here and Year ^ students can take a test in each of the specified areas. It’s a great App for finding out the gaps in their knowledge in preparation for the BIG Test itself. After each series of questions, it gives you a summary and an approximate NC level too. This is an App you can advise for parents to invest in.

Numeracy Nibbles (0.69p – KS1)

I just like the title of this one – hilarious!’Numeracy Nibbles’ – handy maths bites for hungry kids. Again, this App has a strong emphasis on KS1 SATs and national testing so is a great preparatory tool to try out. This has 300 questions and each test consists  ten randomly selected questions. It gives you a total score of the ones you got right giving the student an indication of their success rate. This type of App needs specific focus for each of the set of questions to get the students into the ‘test’ mindset.

Splash Math Grades 1 & 2 & 3 (Free! Though it is a ‘lite’ version…- KS1/2)
Oh I do like a free App and this is ideal for Key Stage 1 and 2. It’s fun, friendly cartoon format has 13 chapters and covers over 185 maths skills. It covers a myriad of things from calculation, measures, place value, probability etc. Ideal for early morning work to get their maths brains into gear. (There are some American touches – like counting money – that the British children will have to skip. However overall, it is a thoroughly decent App!)

Bee Bot (Free–Bot! KS1)

A lot of you will have used the real BeeBots in class and this is the perfect short cut to allow a whole class the opportunity to investigate direction language.  Direct the inquisitive BeeBot around the garden by programming a safe path. As a follow up get the children to make pathways for each other. Then in pairs get them to demonstrate their directional vocabulary to instruct the other to find their destination.

3D shapes and Nets (0.69p – KS1/2)

This explores properties of 3D shape and looks at the relationship between them and their nets. There’s plenty of ‘Wow’ factor on offer here with its outer space theme and looks at not only the common 3D shapes but more complex constructs like seven sided pyramids! It’s out of this world!

King of Maths (Free! KS2)

Actually the title is a little misleading as you can just as easily become a ‘Queen’ of maths if you so prefer through this rather fast paced mathematics game. It delivers diverse problems in different areas and manages to challenge you throughout. It has a distinctly medieval theme and the aim is to progress from your lowly farmer peasant status to become a King (or Queen for that matter) of your own maths realm! It has ten levels and students can compare their score with each other. Prithee sire, tis a noble App indeed! Minstrels – play on!

Number bonds: addition and subtraction to 99 / multiplication and division to 99 (£1.49 per App – KS1/2)

To sharpen up some mental maths then invest in these. They can race against the clock, or with each other or on their own and the beauty about it is they are developing their mathematical reasoning in a game format. There are plenty of these type of Apps and it’s worth getting a selection to test their developing skills. Also they are so easy to facilitate and they keep the class engaged. Super stuff!

Achieve Level 4 Mathematics (£3.99 – KS2)

You are paying a bit more for this one so it had better be good – and thankfully it is too! Linked in with the series of Achieve books, this offers hundreds of examples to plough your maths mind through. Students can choose their specified area of maths and within that, select an objective to look at. So they may want to choose ‘Shape, space and measures’ in order to look at ‘Angles’. Simples! They can click and drag to their hearts content and as the title suggests it is aimed at trying to secure level 4 knowledge. Highly recommended.

 Math Dictionary (£1.99 – KS1/2)

For those of you that know me (and for the benefit of those that don’t) I do tend to expound upon how important language is in maths making sure children know what they are doing and can tell each other about it. This is a very ‘andy APP for all sorts of reasons – for language acquisition , for concise definitions and visual examples to back everything up too.  Perfect for KS2 and beyond

Speaking Times Tables (0.69p – KS1/2)

To be fair, I’m not too keen on the design of the monkey in this App. I feel I could do a better job there. However, students can listen and join in with the tables being chanted and it’s as good as any of the times table Apps out there, so I’m willing to forgive the rather cross-eyed monkey. You get a choice of voices too. Again, there are endless times tables Apps to be found. A lot of the free options do only cover only some of the times tables and then request that you upgrade (with a fee!) to unlock the rest. So you might as well pay get your school to pay small amount in the first place.

Capacity Word Problems/Reading Scales/Balancing Calculations (All £1.49 each – KS1/2)

These three Apps are gems! Simplicity holds the key once more with easy to decipher diagrams for ‘Capacity Word problems’ and ‘Reading Scales’ Apps. Students can answer questions against the clock. ‘Balancing Calculations’ helps to reinforce the role of the equals sign, balancing between different types of calculations. Worth a purchase!

APPy Solving!

There are plenty opf opportunities to weave in these Apps to suit the needs of your class. They are a terrific way to stimulate a buzz about maths. Just make sure you get involved with your students as they access these programs. It’s a key opportunity for you to ask assessment questions. Use these Apps as discussion points and create a classroom culture of fun, wonder and discovery!

How  APP-solutley wonderful!


(Des Hegarty is a teacher at Wilbury Primary School. You can follow his book blog ‘Storysplat’ by clicking here:

Also you can watch Des in action telling stories on Youtube:

‘Gus You Are a Superstar’

The Grizzlegrog’

Mr Gum and the Goblins – by Andy Stanton

..and finally you can follow him on Twitter @The Grizzlegrog)



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