Math Whole by Bel Math Apps is a comprehensive math and quiz app using the following operations for whole numbers – adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division. Although it was created for students in grades 1-6; I have to say, I love these kinds of quiz apps for keeping my mind sharp, flexible, and learning new ways in learning the basics. The design of this app is to keep things simple to maximize time for processing and keep the focus on the subject. It is especially useful for kids that are highly distractible or have other special needs as it is free of visual clutter and the colors selected are not visually over stimulating. It is not only aligned to Common Core Standards, but keeps the needs of the whole child in mind. What really makes this app stand out is the feature that records ongoing progress for parent and teachers.
Yevel and Tatyana Belyavskiy, two grandparents with very impressive credentials, created Bel Math Apps to help develop apps for their grandchildren to learn and practice basic math skills. Both have a PhD in mathematics and taught math, and so knew what was important when learning operations and how to grade the information for “a just right challenge”. They wanted something that stretched further than CCSS, was paperless, and kept data in a simplified and elegant format. They have six apps in all for the iPad and currently 2 for Android devices, spanning a comprehensive curriculum. After all, this was developed mainly for the love of their grandchildren, and I am sure every line of code written only the best!
On opening, choose the operation you wish to practice. It’s hard for kids sometimes to accept that you have to practice basic math facts to be proficient, and how that carries over in everyday life. Practice and drilling can take many forms, and sometimes you need to just roll up your sleeves and do it. This is not doing math by guesstimate, it is active…”do or do not”, as Yoda might say. Once on your operations page, just go at it. Have a child complete 10, 20, or 30 equations; the ability to choose how many and for how long is up for negotiation. This would be easy to pair with a reward chart, for practice completed. After the completed number or minutes of practice are over, the app automatically saves to the clipboard, so that teachers, parents, or kids themselves can paste the data in notes or an email message. The app records the equation and number of errors/attempts. Teachers will find this particularly handy for data collection and be able to assess where a child excels or is struggling. The sequence for completing an equation is lined up and highlighted for cuing including carryovers. Using a stylus will bring the motor system on board, and will facilitate committing the material into long-term memory. I would absolutely recommend the use of a stylus for this purpose. Each operation has 5 difficulty levels and some of the levels have a little notebook beside the equation for helping record those pesky dangling numbers. Things I would love to see in future updates, and these are small, would be decrease the verbal reinforcement or are able to set it as a settings option, and not have the question mark blinking as it serves as a distractor at times.
Math Whole is highly recommended and a TWA pick because of its clear and concise presentation, its ability to track data, and most importantly its ability to upgrade the material or difficulty levels for kids of differing abilities and grade levels. In other words this is an app that will grow with a child.