Tag Archives: App

Tap Tangram by PKCLsoft

16 Mar IMG_5238

taptangramsappiconPKCLsoft has come up with a new game combining trivia, Mathematics and tangrams that will appeal to teachers and parents.  The game is simple to use while being highly customisable to suit a wide range of ages and abilities.

Playing the game

Tap Tangram is very simple to use. Single player and Multiplayer games operate in much the same way:

  1. Select the number of tangram puzzles you wish to complete from options of 1, 3, 5 or 10 (depending on how long you wish the game to last.)
  2. Select a puzzle from the many options. Multiplayer contestants can choose different puzzles from each other if they wish.
  3. Tap Go to begin the game.
  4. Answer the question by either typing in the correct number or selecting the correct multiple choice answer.
  5. Correct answers result in a tan being added to your player scratch pad that can be used immediately or held until later.
  6. Drag tan pieces to the working area and move, flip and rotate them to create the tangram.

Multiplayer games also have a race element where players try to beat their opponents in completing their tangrams.

IMG_5245Multiplayer Games

You can play with two players on a single iPad or iPad 6+ in a beat-the-clock game, or up to six players over wifi.  If you answer 3 questions correctly in a row in the multiplayer game, you may request a tan from another player.  A player that assists another by giving them a tan will receive extra points.  As each player is playing at their own level, children operating at a higher level will not have an unfair advantage over other players. (Hmmmmmm.  This could be a good way to determine who picks tonight’s DVD or other little sibling squabbles.)

You can see Tap Tangram in action in the YouTube app trailer below.

Mathematics skills

Maths questions are presented as either  equations  or as sentences, and students answer by either typing in the number or selecting the correct answer from four multiple choice options.  Questions focus on the four operations:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Division
  • Multiplication

You can fine-tune Mathematics questions by selecting a difficulty level and adjusting the number range, making the app suitable for children aged from about 6 years to 12 or even older.

Trivia Questions

You can turn this option on or off, but I think it adds a little fun to the task.  So far I’ve been asked trivia questions related to popular culture, movies (such as Star Wars), Geography, literature, Sport, and Science and Nature, but the list seems quite extensive and I haven’t had the same question twice.  Each question has 4 answers to choose from.

IMG_5238Tangrams

Each correct answer gives you a tangram piece that you can then add to your tangram picture, or save to add later after you have earned a few more pieces.  (Personally, I find it easier to earn all my pieces first and then solve the puzzle, but you may differ.) You can tap on a piece to bring it to the work area, then tap to rotate, flip and move the piece to the desired spot, and even lock it into place.  You can also move the piece by dragging.  The information section on the main page, marked by a big question mark, has some detailed instructions that are illustrated and animated to help you if you have difficulties.

Most people are familiar with tangrams.  They originated in China, possibly during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and made their way to Europe in the 19th century.  Apart from the entertainment value that a puzzle brings, tangrams are also very useful in Mathematics.  They are useful in teaching geometry, logic, fractions ratio and more.  You can google “tangrams in mathematics” to come up with endless material on why this little puzzle game is a very good Mathematics, but I’ve just included a link below to an excellent article about the use of tangrams in Education that might be of interest.

Tangram in Mathematics for Lower Secondary School – Jaroslav Brincková, Miroslav Haviar and Iveta Dzúriková

Customising Tap Tangrams

User Profiles:  Tap Tangram has been designed with the classroom in mind, although the classroom-friendly features also work well with families who will have multiple children using the app at different levels of ability. Teachers can add unlimited individual student profiles, and for each profile can:

  • Set level of difficulty and number ranges
  • Select which operations they wish to concentrate on
  • Opt for multiple choice answers only.
  • Monitor who each child performs at their mathematics tasks as the app records:
    • total scores
    • accuracy of answers in each game
    • speed for answering each question.

Avatars:  Children can customise avatars via their profile page. Just tap the avatar to access the simple  controls.  You can change:

  • Skin tone
  • Eyes
  • Eyebrows
  • Nose
  • Hair style and colour (after you choose a style, you are the. Prompted to choose a colour)
  • Mouth
  • Accessories

 

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 Wish List

There is so much to love about this app that it is hard to come up with a wish list, but I’ll just put it out there that I’d love to be able to put in my list of trivia questions.  If I could do that, perhaps I could relate it to homework or get them to come up with their own questions.

Verdict

It is clear that PKCLsoft has designed this app with the classroom in mind and I think it fits really well.  I can see the app being used to reinforce content learned in class, building speed and accuracy with basic facts and mental arithmetic, and perhaps used as a motivational tool.  That is even before you get to the tangrams activity!


Developer: PKCLsoft
Universal. Requires iOS 7.0 or later
Price: $4.49

Play Time with Toca Boca Apps

23 Jul

Kids all home sick? Rainy day? Need some kind of tidying-up incentive? Toca Boca to the rescue. I’ve been downloading Toca Boca games for my children as they earn them by good behaviour, extra jobs around the house, and as the odd treat for sick children. We don’t have all of them, but it is only a matter of time until we do get them. I’ve invited some guest reviewers, my children, to give their opinions. [Comments in square brackets – like these – are mine.] Before they do, let me just a few things that I find great about these Apps:

  • The Apps are intuitive and easy to use. You don’t need to be able to read or speak any particular language, so every the activities are accessible for everyone.
  • Even though they have no spoken or written language, the Toca Boca Apps give rise to a lot of oral language opportunities. To take advantage of these opportunities, play the Apps with your child, and encourage siblings and friends to play with them too.
  • The Apps focus on everyday experiences, such as housework, meals and haircuts. They are familiar to children, and yet still manage to offer little surprises.  They may be good for helping to prepare children for such things as trips to the hair dresser.
  • It is easy to make the links between the App and activities in the real world.
  • The graphics are just beautiful.
  • Although designed for young children, the characters still appeal to my older pre-teen children and may be helpful for older children with special needs developing language and turn-taking skills. Some, such as the kitchen, hair cut and housework apps, might relate to social situations that the child is learning to deal with.
  • The price for each app is more than reasonable. You’d be amazed at how motivated my children will be if I hold up one of these apps as a carrot.
  • No in-app purchases.  There is some discreet advertising (in the form of icons promoting other Toca Boca Apps) that appears on the home screen, but you can turn that off. Continue reading

Word games Part 1: Word Search

12 Jun
Wordsearch

Wordsearch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Playing games with words is not only fun but can help your children (and you) to practice spelling and to develop your vocabulary. Personally, I love word games and always have some on my iPad.  This post is focussing on just one type:  Word Search, a.k.a Find-a-word, Word Seek, Word Find and others. I think we are all familiar with these puzzles: highlight words hidden in a letter grid.  Since all the puzzles work the same way, I’m going to focus on features such as word lists and various options you might find handy.    Forgive me if I don’t mention the game that has Weapons as one of its word lists, along with others that had some dodgy spelling and grammar before you even got to the puzzles.  The ones here are some of the better ones. Continue reading

Paint my Wings by Toca Boca

25 May butterfly2

Paint My Wings by Toca Boca is a Painting and Creativity App where children paint the wings of butterflies in symmetrical patterns.  At first, there might not seem to be a lot to this app, but when you look closer you’ll see that, as well as being a fun painting activity, Paint My Wingscan also help children develop the early Mathematical and Scientific concepts of patterns and symmetry.

Continue reading

Rover! Access Educational Flash material on your iPad

4 Apr

While I love my iPad, one thing I’ve found frustrating is the inability to access Flash websites. My children are allowed to access the Internet under my supervision, and the iPad is great for this as they can have the iPad wherever I am. Even a laptop doesn’t have that kind of flexibility (and I don’t want kids carrying laptops around the house). The big frustration has been their inability to access Flash sites, including one site that is part of their weekly homework.  It means relocating to another room to sit with them while they do their task, while mine remain undone just that bit longer.  (Could being a slave to their education be my excuse for a messy house?)

Rover changes all of that.  It has been designed specifically for the educational needs of teachers and K-12 students and packs a lot of features into a free app. Continue reading

Evaluating Apps: How to pick a good story app

16 Mar

When I look at reading apps for my children, I have a number of criteria in mind.  It is difficult to get an app that meets every requirement, but having these points in mind can help you separate the good from the mediocre. Continue reading

Helping Children tell the Time with MathTappers: ClockMaster

10 Feb

Mathtappers clock master opening screenMathTappers: ClockMaster,  designed to help children tell the time on both analogue and digital clocks, ticks nearly every box in my criteria for a good educational App.  The designers are Math educators and have designed the App to be used as part of a wholistic approach to teaching time skills.  To that end, they have included a lot of information for parents and teachers. Their motto is Play, Explore, Understand! and this is certainly reflected in the MathTappers: ClockMaster App.  As they state in their accompanying information,

Children do not learn about mathematics from the quick ‘just do this’ solution – rather they learn by playing, exploring and understanding concepts and then by practicing skills to build fluency.” Continue reading

Publish yourself with Book Creator

6 Feb

So your child goes up to their teacher and says “I’ve done my homework, Sir.  You can download it from the iTunes Bookstore….for a small price!”  Okay, selling homework on the iBook store is a little far-fetched at this stage, although it is possible, but how cool would it be to email your creative writing project to your teacher to be read using the iBook App and stored in your class/school iBook library?

Book Creator does exactly as its name suggests:  it creates books (with a little help from the authors, of course.). With Book Creator, you can quickly create a standard or audio iBook that can be read using the iBook App.  The amazing thing is that you can pack so many features into a free App.  With Create Books, you can add your own illustrations, text, narration, or sound track to your iBook. Continue reading

Everyday Maths: Top It Addition

1 Feb

Top It is a two-player addition game by McGraw-Hill that adds pairs of numerals from 0 to 9 and looks at concepts of greater than, less than and equal.  Players take turns dealing two cards each and then adding the values of each card together.  They get points for correct answers and then also for identifying if values are greater, less than, or equal to each other.  McGraw-Hill also has a second version of Top It for subtraction available on the iTunes store (Link below.) Continue reading

Mouse in a House

30 Jan

Here is a nice little App for young children learning their shapes.  Mouse in a House is like an I-Spy activity where children explore the  different rooms in the house and find hidden shapes. Each room hides a number of the same shape, for example in the living room children will need to find circles whereas in the bedroom they hunt for triangles.

There are also a few fun interactive elements, such as appliances that turn on or frogs that hop.  There are written instructions that are spoken once only, and there is a rhyming story that can be read as the child progresses through the App, but this is not spoken aloud.  Instead parents or other older readers will need to read is aloud for non-readers. Continue reading

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