Andrew Brodie is known by many teachers and parents for his series of publications that support children develop their mental mathematical skills, creating educational books since 1992, and is still very much involved in education and has a wealth of experience of teaching and as a primary head-teacher.
Now, with support from Bloomsbury Publishing, Brodie has launched a couple of Mental Maths iPad / iPhone apps (initially released for pupils ages 6-7 and 10-11 – but now also available for 5-6; 7-8; 8-9 & 9-10) that have been developed with the curriculum changes that are taking place around the UK. Within the apps, there are three main quiz areas:
- Starter questions – random questions aimed as a ‘warm-up’ activity.
- Progress tests – Seven sets of 20 questions to explore your maths ability and tracking score.
- Practice quizzes – An unlimited quiz set to check skills.
We reviewed these apps on the iPad, finding them colourful, engaging and rewarding. We liked the way we could focus on a particular topic with the practice quizzes, and the nine categories certainly help support gaps in learning. The apps are designed for individuals, so would not necessarily use as a group activity, therefore good for pupils to use at home, or individually within the classroom (where the use of headphones would be recommended, so not to disrupt others). The results feature is really useful, reporting on percentage scores and the time taken. It is possible to airdrop questions with the app, but we did not use this feature but is an interesting development.
We explored the 6-7 and 10-11 mental maths apps –
other age ranges are being released soon for 5-6, 7-8, 8-9 and 9-10 year olds. [UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2014] All primary/elementary ages are now available priced at £1.99* Apple Store. Click on the relevant images below to see the Apps in the App Store:
Andrew told UKEdChat…
We are just approaching the first anniversary of the release of our Let’s Do Mental Maths apps and what a great year it has been, with the apps winning two major awards including the prestigious Bookseller FutureBook Non-fiction Digital Book of the Year!
There are six apps in the series, one for every age-group in Key Stages One and Two. Each app has three major strands: ‘Quick Quiz’, ‘Let’s Practise’ and ‘Progress Test’. A child can choose to start with any of these sections.
‘Quick Quiz’ features ten random questions, all drawn from a huge database of questions appropriate to the child’s age. The random questions will include number calculations as well as questions on fractions, time, shape and measurement.
The ‘Progress Test’ section provides seven different progress tests each containing twenty questions. Children complete a test as quickly as possible and are rewarded with a final score showing the number of questions successfully answered and the time that they took to achieve this; completing the test unlocks the next test. They can revisit each test as many times as they wish, motivated to beat their previous score either of time, questions answered correctly or both.
The ‘Let’s Practise’ strand is perhaps the most useful. Here, the child, parent or teacher can select which element to practice, choosing from Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Number Value, Fractions, Time, Shape or Measure. Once an element has been chosen the level of difficulty can be selected and, again, the database produces a wealth of questions.
Whichever strand has been chosen the child can elect to have assistance with any of the questions. Digit the friendly dog will help by providing a limited number of options for answers, encouraging the child to make a definite mathematical decision.
Dotted amongst the other questions in both the Quick Quiz and Let’s Practise strands are ‘Brodie’s Brain Boosters’, questions that require children to step outside the focus area and to think logically. The children can view these Brain Boosters as ‘optional extras’, so they have the choice whether they wish to answer them or not – keen junior mathematicians will enjoy them!
The apps can be purchased as individual titles or can be bought as a bundle of all six, which is definitely the more economical option for families with children of different ages.
Also now available on the App Store are the three new ‘Telling the Time’ apps, for ages 4-5, 6-8 and 9-11, or available as a bundle for all three age-groups. The six Let’s Do Spelling apps will be released in the autumn. Hopefully, there’s another great year ahead!