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Touch Here to Calculate

Ti nspire ipadTI takes its calculator technology to the iPad with the TI-Nspire and CAS apps. The software emulates the layout and button sequences of the TI-Nspire and CAS calculators but uses the iPad’s entire display and touch keyboard to do everything from simple addition to graphing quadratics and solving higher order equations. It’s aimed at 7-th through 12-th graders, comes with several built in lessons and costs $30 per app. It works only with second and third generation iPads and like all iPads the TI app can’t be used during most standardized tests.

Ti nspire dummies bookTeachers get a free 1-year license of TI’s education software with the purchase of the iPad app, but it can be a tough system to teach and use without some training. Enter Wiley’s TI-Nspire App for the iPad for Dummies booklet, which is a downloadable freebee. Just get the Acrobat file and you’ll be ready for letting your fingers do the calculating. For things more involved and specialized you can watch how-to videos on Atomic Learning or use the online version of the Dummies book for the old-school calculator.




StraightaceThe latest import from Japan is Straight Ace a math program that has 150 sections to help middle-school students the common core curriculum. Each section has a lesson – on everything from addition to word problems – as well as 10 sample problems to test mastery. The best part is that it works on iPhones, iPads and Android systems so it can be used during downtime. A subscription costs $6.25 per month with an annual plan.

Freebee Friday: Fun by the Numbers

Funbrain moonrocksThere’s a new math game in town for middle school kids. MyMathUniverse now has Funbrain games for reinforcing vital math concepts. The games include Math Soccer, Inkster and Moon Rocks and you can choose the grade level for maximum impact.

Shmoop Helps with Integration

Shmoop_CalculusJust say the word “Calculus” and kids either go into shock or run away screaming thinking that the work is beyond them. Shmoop has a new Calculus Guide that can reduce the anxiety and help them to understand the how to use derivatives and integrals. The approach is through real world examples, exercises and loads of practice problems. There are eight sections, each with quizzes and a lots of graphs to help visualize what the numbers and functions mean. Each section costs $6.28, but schools can license the program at a discount. 

Best Calculator Bargain

Mzl.xddhbxdr.320x480-75They can’t compare with my 1980s vintage HP 11c calculator, but today’s best bargain is HP’s 12c and 15c calculator apps by simulating the look feel, and – most importantly – the math abilities of the real thing. The 12c app matches a vintage 12c Platinum key for key and can figure out a variety of business functions, like Time Value of Money, cash flow and Net Present Value. By contrast, the 15c app has a scientific bent and can work with matrix math as well as deal the complex functions and numerically integrate equations. It is programmable with up to 448 lines of code. If they are purchased by September 17, the 12c costs $5 and the 15c goes for $6.  

1 + 1 = 3

Math Resource Studio cIf you’re looking for new worksheets to reinforce the math concepts that are taught every day, School House Technologies Math Resource Studio 4 can help. The program has a nearly endless variety of practice problems that are categorized into 70 separate subject areas from algebra to telling time. The program only works with Windows computers and costs $59 a copy or as little as 38 cents per student in a large school. There’s an evaluation version to try it out.




Teaching with Games

VmathBy mixing challenging games with instruction, Voyager’s VMathLive can help get the most out of students in grades 2 through 8. The program not only paces kids with appropriate problems but gets a print-put origami animal to fold together at the end of a section.


TextBook 2.0

Algebra (1)Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars per student on math textbooks when they can be reworked as iPad apps and cost a lot less. Pearson’s Algebra and Geometry titles are now available in iBooks 2 format, which can save a bundle for districts while adding attention-grabbing interactive elements to their classic texts. The iBooks versions of Pearson’s textbooks are available for $15.


Math Now, College Later

AlleyoopVideo_LessonThe lack of basic math skills has kept thousands of intelligent and worthy kids out of college, but Alleyoop intends to remedy that with three remedial online math courses. The classes include video instruction, lots of practice problems and tutoring sessions. There are classes to master PreAlgebra, Alegra I and Algebra II, with it costing from $29 to $59 a month or a one-time payment of $99.



What’s Wrong with Algebra

PCI3414-Algebra-CityWhat are the biggest mistakes that kids (and often teachers) make with algebra? PCI Education’s Algebra City text and assessment program targets the 28 most common algebraic faux pas to bring students up to proficiency. The hope is that by showing where students go wrong in a comic book format, teachers can pull them back on the mathematical straight and narrow.  




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