Students play Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery on their own in individual sessions. There's a straightforward profile creation process, although it's a little time consuming. Teachers enter each student's name or nickname and an email address. They must also take a photo of the student (or of something else unique to that student), presumably so that students can easily find their profile. Parents get notified about the app (via email). It'd be helpful at this time for teachers to send out an email explaining why they've selected the app and how it'll benefit students.
The developer suggests that students play Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery in 15-minute sessions, twice a week. Limiting play helps students stick with apps longer, and helps assess whether learning is long-term. To help keep track of play time, there's a timer in the upper right corner of the screen. The program adapts on its own according to performance, but teachers will want to keep a close eye on the progress reports to get a sense of how their students are doing. This progress data is saved in the cloud, so teachers can use multiple devices in the classroom. Teachers can enhance learning with hands-on activities that complement what students are working on.Continue reading Show less
Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery is a subscription-based, early learning math app for iOS, Android, and Kindle. The app gives students practice with foundational math skills such as numeracy, geometry, measurement, and telling time. Mini-games use a variety to techniques to approach the content. In some games, for example, students match numbers of balls to their corresponding numeral. In another, students sort coins by their monetary value and then count out the right number of candies to match. Teachers can create up to 27 student profiles in a single subscription account. When they set up a new profile, in addition to providing a name and photo, teachers also choose whether that student wants to play in English or Spanish. Students start with a placement test to determine where they'll start on the learning path. There's adaptive leveling to provide students with extra help, guidance, and practice in areas in which students struggle. Teachers can see detailed progress reports that indicate individual student's level of mastery in each content area. When teacher's sign up for a subscription, they can start with a short tutorial to learn how the app works. There's a one-month free trial available.
Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery is a solid choice for teaching and reinforcing the basic skills that are so important to later success in math. Rather than trying to be a one-stop shop for elementary school math, the app focuses on building a strong, well-balanced foundation. Its games adapt nicely to provide different students the support they need. Depending on how students do, they may breeze through the levels, or they might spend a lot of time repeating the same concepts. Independent of content repetition, there's quite a bit of repetition in activity type, but variation in visuals and a gradual build up in complexity do a good job in keeping it from feeling tedious. And Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery is meant to be used in small doses over a period of time, so that students gradually build their knowledge. It's worth mentioning that there's a clear focus in Math Shelf on integrating research-based best practices for learning. To this end, the developer has published several peer reviewed research studies which suggest that Math Shelf: Early Math Mastery is more effective than several other teaching methods, including normal classroom instruction.
While the pedagogy in Math Shelf is top notch, it does lack the polish kids, families, and teachers might be used to from other apps. The visuals are fairly simplistic and it lacks human-voiced feedback or an easy way to create student accounts. That said, once students are up and running, the learning is focused and solid and teachers get useful reports on their progress.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.1
Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.
Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, “flat”) or three- dimensional (“solid”).
Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/“corners”) and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).
Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.
Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, “Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?”
Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.4
Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
Measurement And Data
Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.3
Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.
Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a “ten.” b.
The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).
Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <.
Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.
Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings2, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.
Fluently add and subtract within 5.
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 – 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 + ? = 11, 5 = _ – 3, 6 + 6 = _.
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