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Five apps for boosting middle school math skills

These five apps can help middle school students learn math skills such as geometry, estimation, and simple algebra

math [1]

These math app reviews come from Common Sense Media and its free Graphite service.

Here are reviews of five high-quality digital apps that can help teach middle school math, courtesy of Common Sense Media and its new Graphite [2] service—a free database of teacher-written reviews of learning technologies.

Slice It!

Grade range: 3-7

What is it? Divide and conquer with clever puzzles that build a geometry foundation.

Pros: Trial-and-error game play supports nimble discovery of concepts and strategies.

Cons: Lacks explicit connection between game principles and classroom learning.

Bottom line: A fun way for kids to jump into geometry with lessons on shapes, symmetry, and area.

Full review: http://www.graphite.org/app/slice-it [3]


questimate-3-the-answer-is1 [4]Grade range: 4-7

What is it? Estimation becomes a fabulous math game.

Pros: Exposes kids to estimation in fun ways, with concrete math explanation.

Cons: Number ranges aren’t limited at first, so it’s easy for answers to be way off.

Bottom line: A great-looking, fully engaging math experience, from question to answer.

Full review: http://www.graphite.org/app/questimate [5]


Algebra Touch

algebratouch [6]Grade range: 4-7

What is it? A nice twist to learn equation steps, not answers.

Pros: Students get encouraging words at each step.

Cons: You can’t track how students are progressing, or if they’re progressing at all.

Bottom line: Algebra Touch breaks equations down into steps and describes them with such basic language that math-challenged students should improve.

Full review: http://www.graphite.org/app/algebra-touch [7]


dragonboxalgebra5_small [8]Grade range: 4-8

What is it? Mesmerizing, step-by-step puzzler sets the foundation for algebra.

Pros: A truly elegant design integrates entertainment and instruction so seamlessly that playing = learning.

Cons: Some levels might be hard to solve without hints.

Bottom line: This innovative game-changer teaches algebra, changes the way kids learn it, and even changes how they feel about it.

Full review: http://www.graphite.org/app/dragonbox-algebra [9]


Motion Math: Pizza!

motionmath-pizza [10]Grade range: 4-8

What is it? Serving up valuable economics lessons with an extra helping of fun.

Pros: The challenges and rewards of running a successful business will empower kids and keep them engaged.

Cons: Could use more instructions and hints for kids who need extra guidance.

Bottom line: Fantastic math game gives kids a taste of what’s needed to run a profitable business.

Full review: http://www.graphite.org/app/motion-math-pizza [11]