Just 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.
They 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.
If 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.
By 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.
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.
The 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 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.
Shmoop has beefed up its pre-Algebra resource site, and it can help any struggling student or teacher with a slew of math-oriented content. In addition to topics like basic operations, fractions and ratios, the site has a large geometry section as well as one on statistics and probability.
The apps that run within Google’s Chrome Web Browser are becoming more numerous and varied, with some aimed right at the classroom. The latest is a cool graphing calculator that’s absolutely free. Rather than spending a hundred dollars for a calculator or even $10 or $15 for a Windows program, Desmos has a freebee calculator that should fit into every math and science classroom. On top of regular calculations, it can graph any function on an X-Y Cartesian plane as well as polar coordinates.
I used it for a few weeks and the calculator loads in a flash and runs on even minimalist netbooks. That’s because most of the heavy processing takes place at Google’s servers. Desmos lets a group of kids work together, making the program perfect for a collaborative math project or physics lab. The best part is that there are many sample calculations that can be used in the calssroom and it’ll work on any computer that has a Chrome browser available for it, including PCs, Macs and Linux computers.
Tired of kids forgetting the math they learned from September to May during June through August? Try exercising their brains over the summer with SuccessMaker’s Speed Math, an iPad app that reinforces math concepts and problem-solving techniques. The basics, like adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing are aimed at first-through-sixth graders and there along 48 levels of problems. It’s free until the end of September at the iTunes App store.