Top Innovative Elementary School Math Apps for iPad

Even though math is an essential part of everyday life, many children still resist its charms. When I was growing up “math fun” meant making words with a calculator. Thanks to the iPad, the gamification of math, and some really creative developers, kids today can choose from a number of well-designed apps that dull the pain of learning arithmetic.

First, ask yourself, does my kid want to be an astronaut, a zombie fighter, a secret agent or a ninja while learning math?

mathlist1Space fans will love Mathmateer (formerly Rocket Math), from the developer of Stack the States, covers nearly every math operation an elementary school student needs to know from arithmetic to telling time to fractions. Players build rockets, then fly them, and earn rewards along the way. In Math Ninja HD, a child must answer math questions correctly to defend his virtual treehouse against a hungry tomato and his robotic army. Lolz! Aspiring CIA recruits will find Operation Math (and its multiplayer sequel Operation Math Code Squad) is an engaging way to practice basic arithmetic operations on numbers 1 through 20. Finally, fans of fighting virtual zombies won’t want to miss Tap to Learn’s Math vs. Zombies. Where else can a kid save the world and practice his division skills at the same time?

mathlist2Kids who love to “beat the clock” will enjoy Numerosity: Play with Addition from Thoughtbox. Designed as a math edu-app for 7 to 10-year-olds, Numerosity offers kids a new way to learn addition. A child earns points for every question she answers correctly, and is able to move through the levels, which grow increasingly complex as he progresses. During the game a player can earn a variety of power ups, and scores integrate with Game Center. Fans of match three-style games will want to try Mathtopia, a strategy game where the player must match three facts with the same answer to clear a row or column of bubbles. Super 7, a line drawing game tests math skills and spatial awareness as a player works to find sums of seven. Featuring power ups and Game Center integration, Super 7’s game play is challenging enough to entertain adults and children alike.

Technically all of these apps drill students on facts, but by adding elements of gameplay and entertaining graphics, developers capture young players attention.

mathlist3Finally, there’s DragonBox+ (PadGadget = 5 stars), which tackles the daunting task of introducing children to algebraic concepts through intuitive gameplay whose level of difficulty increases over time. Dragonbox+ introduces fundamental algebraic elements gradually, in a way that even very young children can follow. As he progresses through the game, the player grows a collection of dragons.

Do your kids have a favorite app that makes learning math more fun? Let us know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Licht.

About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • Doug Bott

    I’m an elementary school teacher. I’ve been having my daughter work through Splash Math: Grade 4 (other grades available). I like it because it offers practice in a variety of math concepts, not just arithmetic. It has both regular exercises and games and can be configured to send you a weekly email report.

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    Very Good article.

  • sixpants

    Most these are old wine in new bottles – flashcards with bells and whistles. Not transformative use of technology to deepen understanding.

    Profoundly disappointing and uninspiring pedagogical use of technology.