iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Works on a understanding turning word problems into numerical equations, covers a large range of ages and abilities, customizable. Ability to record videos of how you solved the problem.

What we’d love to see…

more detailed instructions on using the tools, ability to more easily see calculated answer from checking page, individual student profiles and data tracking

Summary

Math Shake for Schools is a very flexible math app that can be used for a large range of student ages and abilities. It covers Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division and works on the important skill of learning to convert word problems into numerical equations.

Our Rating

Math Shake for SchoolsMath Shake is a new educational app from Top Story Apps. It is available in two versions- a free version  with in-app purchases -“Math Shake” and a full version without IAP – “Math Shake for Schools”. The full version costs $4.99 and includes 6 levels designed for children from 6 years to 14 years old. The free version includes 1 level “confident” for 8-9 year olds, other levels can be purchased for $1.99 each or the full app unlocked for $4.99; buying any in-app purchase also unlocks the interactive whiteboard feature. The full app includes 1,000’s of questions over the 6 levels, plus the interactive whiteboard, this review is of the full version. More information about Math Shake and FAQ are available online with the links behind a parental gate.

The app is customizable to the student’s level – you first pick which of the 6 levels to work at and then you can choose to work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or any combination of these. There are no individual profiles, or tracking of questions answered or how many attempts the student needs to correctly answer.

The app works on one specific area of the math curriculum – taking mathematical word problems and converting them into numerical equations, then solving them. Seeing the numerical problem within a word problem is an area many students struggle with, and mastering it is also a useful skill for bringing mathematical skills into solving real-life maths problems.

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First the student is presented with a word problem, an example at the easiest level is: “Andrea has 2 beetroot and gets 4 more. How many does she have now?” Tapping on a number causes it to be encircled and the student can then move it to the correct place within a blank equation. Tapping on key words such as “many” or “more” will bring them to a screen where they choose whether this question should be represented by +, -, x, or ÷, they tap on the correct choice and move it to the equation. If they are unsure which words to tap the words will shake to give a hint. If the child gets the equation right they can move on to working out their answer, if incorrect they are told to double check and try again. If they need help in creating the equation, tapping on the lightbulb will give them hints, first giving a general idea on what to do, then step-by-step help if they need it. If the child can not read the question, they can tap the speech bubble and it will be narrated by a computer generated voice engine.

When they are ready to work out the answer they move to the interactive whiteboard. They can use a pen to work out the problem, and a variety of other tools are also available. The tools include: counters, tens frames, arrays, pie tool, number line; different colored and sized pens and erasers; plus the ability to type and add hollow or solid rectangular/ square or circular/ ovoid shapes. Tapping the lightbulb will give hints on how to use the whiteboard and tools. I would like to see more detailed help available on using these tools, they work well if the student is already comfortable with using them, but students who are unfamiliar with a tool or unsure on the best way to use it may struggle to get the most from the tools.

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Once the student is happy with their answer they move on to a new screen to check it. You can see the previous screen very faintly when checking the answer, but have to position the answer very carefully to be able to read it. In the higher levels where the answer can have many decimal places this can make it hard to accurately transcribe the answer. It would be nice to have a designated box at the side of the page where you write the answer and can see this box on the next page for easy reference when typing in the answer in the checker.

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Once the student has solved a problem correctly they can create a video showing the whiteboard with them narrating how they solved the problem. These videos can be saved to the camera roll or played back. I think this is great as the student can create a record of how they solved certain problems to share with their teacher or parent; it can also be used by a parent or teacher to record some “how to” videos for when the student is stuck on how to use a tool or tackle a problem.  I would love to see an option to save these in a video library within the app, so the “how to” videos could be easy to find if the student gets stuck.

Overall, Math Shake for Schools is a very flexible math app that can be used for a large range of student ages and abilities. It covers Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division and works on the important skill of learning to convert word problems into numerical equations.
Math Shake – Glen Storey

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Price: $

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Math Shake for Schools – Glen Storey


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Price: $

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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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