Who said learning math can’t be fun?! At our school, we try very hard to make math lessons relevant, engaging and fun for the students. To grab their attention and increase motivation, we often integrate apps into the lessons. Even if the app doesn’t necessarily work on the math concepts we are teaching, we are able to integrate it creatively to encourage the students to work on other skills.
I’m going to share one of my favorite apps with you and how I integrate it into my lessons to teach many math skills. At the end of the post, you’ll find a link to a file with many more ideas and apps to use.
One of the apps that I love to use the most is Feed the Monkey, by Busy Things. It is essentially an app for learning counting and quantity, but we use it to teach so much more. The students love the cute monkey character, it is simply but aesthetically designed and easy to use. Monkey asks for a certain number and type of food and if the child gets it right he eats all the food. In addition to the app, I love to use other materials and manipulatives to strengthen the learning impact. I have made a math board (photo below) with the monkey clearly displayed, and I’ve printed out cards with numbers and the foods he eats in the app.
Ideas for lessons:
- Using Manipulatives: Using the board described above and the printed number and food cards, students can practice counting quantities using the app and the manipulatives. The app can be cast onto a big screen for a classroom lesson or this can be done in small groups or one-to-one instruction. There can be a class set of manipulatives or each child can have their own to practice with. Using the board children can work on counting, more than/less than/equal to.
- Practicing Addition: the app does not explicitly work on addition but lends easily to that adaptation in class. If the monkey asks for two different types of food, we naturally have a set of two numbers to work with. Addition templates and the printed manipulatives work great here.
- Worksheets based on the app: You can be creative here and work on everything discussed above. Worksheets can be designed to be done at home or in class without the app, using the monkey and food images from the app to encourage engagement. Alternatively, you can design worksheets to be used with the app either on personal tablets or cast to a big screen in front of the class. For example, children fill in the numbers that come up on the app and create an addition exercise, or they circle the number of food items the monkey asks for, etc.
We have used many other apps to liven up math lessons. Download our ideas from this link: Fun Apps for Math for Learning Engagement. With each app, you will find ideas for integrating manipulatives and creative ideas for using in class to promote engaging learning experiences. All ideas and examples come straight from the classrooms at the Special Education School at Beit Issie Shapiro.
Have any other fun app ideas for math? Let us know in the comments!