Wednesday, March 14, 2012

App Week - Times Tables

Category: Education
Seller: 24x7 digital LLC
Cost: FREE

Knowing the multiplication tables is key if our children are going to progress well in Math.  Most curricula do not give children a lot of time to learn them before going on to division concepts and the students who have not learned the multiplication tables begin to lag behind...quickly.  Each of my children has had a difficult time memorizing the multiplication tables.  Maybe it's because I didn't drill them enough.  (Maybe THAT'S because I've always had at least 2 or more other students to teach, laundry to do, dinner to cook, babies to change, etc.) However, once they realize how critical they are to the rest of their Math assignments, they begin to learn them.

Enter the Times Tables app.  This is a great app for the children who are just learning multiplication as well as a review tool for my older children.  With this app, just like all 24x7 digital apps (see my Teach Me post), you may track the progress of several different students.  You can take their photo, type in their name and they just click on their own avatar when they're ready to play.

Let's use my daughter, Katrina, as today's example.  She is my fourth grader and ready to dive in deep with division, but has been struggling with multiplication.  She will take my phone (with permission - ALWAYS!), tap on her avatar, and tap on the "learn" option.  Instead of messing with a bunch of flashcards (which you always have to put back in order after drilling randomly), she has 4 options to help her learn.  The first is a "grid" with all of the multiplication facts on it.  She taps on a fact, it shows up at the top of the screen (answer included) and a voice reads the fact.  This is great for all types of learning styles.  The "flash-card" option is just that - Katrina will see a card with a fact (no answer), try to answer it & then double tap on it to see if she is correct.  The third option helps her see the concepts at work as the app uses "apple trees" to illustrate the multiplication tables.  Choose a factor, multiply it by another, and the answer is given.  Again, the voice is heard to read the facts.  Tapping on the trees allows the student to skip-count in order to see how multiplication works.  Lastly, there are "list flash cards" where there will be a list of each multiplication family (without answers).  She will go through and give her best answers, then, again, double-tap to check her work.

All of this can be done independently while I am free to work with the other children on their school. *smile & happy dance*

After Katrina goes through some drills, she is able to play games.  In the "Times Tables" drills, she can choose how many facts she'd like to be quizzed on in each family.  While a timer runs, it only does so for her to gage her own progress and speed.  On "Random Problems," Katrina can choose 10, 20, 30, or 40 random problems to be tested on up through 11x11.   Or, she may choose to be quizzed randomly on all the facts up to 12x12.  Again, the timer in this game is only for her to know how quickly she is able to answer.  "Multiplication Challenge" tests Katrina on each fact family in order and she must get each level perfect before she can progress to the next level.  The last game, "Timed Quiz" gives random facts from each family and she must do it within a certain amount of time (which I set).  Obviously, some of these games are more challenging than others which makes this app so great for all ages & levels!

While I am not sitting there doing the drills and games with Katrina, I am able to check her scores, times, and the dates on which she did them for each "quiz" or game.  This will tell me what she needs work on the most.

Though simple without animation, etc., (often, that's a plus!) I believe the Times Table app is useful in our homeschool. I highly recommend it for beginning multipliers or older students who just need some review or who need to increase their speed.

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