Problem Solving and Math Apps

Before beginning a hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.-Winnie the Pooh

Problem solving is a critical skill and a large part of the foundation for early learning.   Opportunities for problem solving exist in everyday life.  By exploring their environment, manipulating objects, thinking critically, and building on existing learning, students can strengthen problem-solving  skills.

We have been using our iPads to create story problems in our Whiteboard App.  Students draw the story problem then type the number sentence to represent the picture.  We have even had a story problem exchange.  Students create the picture to represent either an addition or subtraction problem.  Then they pass their iPad to a friend who looks at the picture and figures out the appropriate number sentence.

Another activity my students have enjoyed is taking objects in our classroom such as unifix cubes or pattern blocks and creating a pattern.  They use their camera on their iPad to take a photograph and trade iPads with another student.  That student identifies the pattern and re-creates the pattern using Pop Beads app.

Using these manipulatives, students can make visual representations and I can model for students.  The iPads create another opportunity for practice and integration.  It can serve as a calculator, a notepad, an information resource, and flashcards.  It keeps score, tracks progress, and many apps monitor and adjust content.  iPads allow me to also integrate content.  The word problem in the above picture was created by a student after we studied seeds and plants.  She typed a science journal entry in Pages and then created her story problem.  The iPad allows for seamless integration of subjects that makes sense to students and increases their understanding of new concepts.

Other apps my students enjoy using in math are Math Bingo, Park Math, Monkey Math, and Flash to Pass.

By providing sustained opportunities for students to solve problems in a variety of contexts, they begin taking responsibility for their own learning.

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