Fraction as Slope by Esa Helttula of iDevBooks is simply elegant. It is written for big kids with a design that respects and lends gravity to what they are learning. It does not have pizza pies or bears running through the woods in order to gather the correct numbers for a presented equation. The app is simply composed of an adjustable grid where numbers are plotted along an axis so that you can visually SEE that fraction as a slope with all its equivalents, i.e. that 1/2 is the same as 2/4, or 5/10. AND that is what makes this so great. The replay value is simply genius in not only its layout and design for tablet use but also how fractions are presented in general. Visual learners can quickly get the skinny on fractions and by adding the kinetic component; it cements the concepts to memory. There are four sections with many options so that the app can be adjusted to provide the just right challenge over time. It is kid driven for open exploration, but still provides enough structure so there is a sense of completion and accomplishment. There are settings on both the home page and within each section that kids have access to at any time if they want more of a challenge or to adjust the grid size. Let’s take a look at the areas so that you can see for yourself how phenomenal this app is – especially for kids that are distractible or hypersensitive to visual input. In a future update, I would love to see a choice of the background color be an off-white, very light yellow or green to keep the visuals simple and avoid glare, refraction, or possible eyestrain from the stark white background. Adjustments can be made in settings under Display and Brightness, but a slight change in color may make the numbers pop a bit more.
The four sections to discover are as follows:
- Exploring: Here is the place to get used to playing and plotting points on a grid. Where do you put the top number? And what about the bottom number? In exploring find the fraction, slope, and equivalent fractions from the point that’s plotted. Want to add more possibilities? Tap the settings for increasing the grid size or allowing negative numbers.
- Comparing: Allows for the beginning of learning about operations by examining what the two fractions have in common. Once the lines are plotted, compare their values. The built-in coach prompts you if you are wrong and why. Gotta love mistakes in math, they are wonderful opportunities to try something else and always broaden your view.
- Reduce or expand: Reducing or expanding numbers is a cinch with Fractions as Slope. Simply plot your numerator and denominator, and there it is!
- Adding and Subtracting: Adding or subtracting is the final destination in Fractions as Slope. Plot your fractions then look for the common denominator outlined in a red and blue dot on the bottom of the page. Once changed, simply add and check to see if it’s correct.
Fraction as Slope is a very elegant app in its simplicity of design and the ability for kids to practice math skills independently. It keeps kids on target for tasks that often are laborious by allowing them a choice in how they are to proceed. It implies that there is trust and confidence in a child’s abilities to learn and be independent. And sometimes that is all a child needs is someone believing they CAN. A TWA Top Pick!
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.