Educational research tells us that using manipulatives and hands-on activities are the best ways to help children bridge the gap from abstract concepts to concrete ideas. Apps focusing on fact fluency are easy to come by, but the apps listed here go beyond simple memorization. These apps provide meaningful introductions to multiplication concepts. Multiplication arrays and repeated addition are the focus. These are paid apps. However, when used in combination with reflecting software (Reflector, Mirror360) or an Apple TV they can be cost-effective teaching tools during whole group and small group instruction.
Montessori Math Multiplication — This app, like many of the Montessori apps, is well made. For the most part, it focuses on multiple digit multiplication processes and procedures. Missing Digits, Wiz Quiz, and Bubble Game are all games that can be accessed from the home screen. However, tapping on the large multiplication sign held by the monster on that same screen is where the magic happens. Beadboard is the only place in the app that focuses on single digit multiplication. Choose the table you would like to learn and build the corresponding multiplication arrays.
The Stamp Game allows you to build larger numbers using place value and finally multiply them using repeated addition. Presenting students with two and three digit multiplication problems for the first time can result in horrified expressions—imagine walking children through a haunted corn maze. The facial expressions are similar. Using simple step-by-step directions and colorful, interactive illustrations students will begin multiplying large numbers without realizing they’re doing it. What’s better, they’ll have fun doing it! This app does a fantastic job taking an often intimidating skill and transforming it into something that inspires lots of smiles and “aha moments.”
Additionally, Montessori Math Multiplication allows for extreme customization with advanced settings. READ full review by TWA's here.
Understanding Math Times Tables — This is the most comprehensive app of the three. Students can create arrays, reinforce multiplication as repeated addition, practice fact fluency and simple division. The design is colorful and straightforward. There are no games, adorable characters, or points to be scored. The manipulatives and easy-to-use learning tools are the focus. Fitting this app into the whole and small instruction is easy. However, I can also see it fitting seamlessly into a math center rotation.
While the mathematical concepts in this app are outstanding, a review of this app would not be complete if it didn’t mention its fact fluency capabilities. Using handwriting recognition technology, students answer multiplication problems simply by writing the numerical answers with their finger or a stylus. I found a few discrepancies with the app’s software and a few times the app failed to correctly read my handwriting. This may cause frustration for a student. Another feature is a side-by-side competition which is the only section of the app that awards points. Each student chooses a difficulty level individual to them and is assigned either the top of bottom of the iPad screen. The app gives each student a problem on their assigned portion of the screen. Then, students must write their answer on the screen and the students are given points for each correct answer.
Navigating this app is extremely user-friendly. I highly recommend it. If you need a teaching tool that does it all, then this is the app for you! READ full review by TWA's here.
LLama Drama — Llamas are adorable and fun so what better way to learn multiplication than with a herd of these furry, four-legged creatures? Kids are drawn to this app. They love it! What’s better? I do too. Building multiplication arrays, an important stepping stone skill when learning about multiplication, is the focus of this entertaining app. As students continue, they will use arrays solve simple division problems as well. "Kids build number fluency, develop strategies for multiplication, and learn properties of operations as they sort rowdy animals into arrays of different sizes."
Katie Chirhart is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been teaching for sixteen years. She has specializations in early childhood and reading. Recently, she finished her Campus Technology Certification. She began her career in College Station, TX teaching a full inclusion pre-kindergarten class. Currently, Katie lives and works in Shreveport, LA. After spending ten years teaching third grade, she now teaches in an elementary iPad Lab. She has earned When time allows, she enjoys working with teachers far and wide sharing the wonders of technology. Her current job is a dream come true.