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Understanding Math - Times Tables: Learn to fluently multiply and divide within 100
Pros: Hands-on learning approach helps strengthen comprehension.
Cons: A lack of instructional support limits the game's usefulness as a teaching tool; touchscreen glitches could distract.
Bottom Line: A solid tool for skills development and honing basic math skills.
The game could work well for independent practice and reinforcing in-class lessons. It's a snap to create user profiles, and sharing devices with multiple students is easy. Give kids time to practice at the start or end of a class period and have them share their performance reports. Keep a class leader board and encourage kids to earn the top spot. As an extension activity, use the Toolbox mode to discuss the relationship between multiplication and division. Give kids multiplication equations, such as 4 x 3 = 12, and have them write two related division problems.
Understanding Math - Times Tables is a math practice app for elementary level with six play options. In The Hundred Board, kids find the product by dragging an interactive hundred table to represent two factors in a multiplication problem. In Multiplication, kids tap their fingers on the screen to represent a multiplication problem as repeated addition. For example, for 5 x 3, they tap five fingers three times or three fingers five times. The factors appear as objects, and the product appears in the equation. Kids can pop the objects before moving on to the next problem. In Division, kids drag objects into boxes to form equal groups. If it's done correctly, the quotient automatically appears. Kids can also hand-write the quotient on the screen. In Training, kids hand-write solutions to problems, and a model is provided at the bottom of the screen. In Duel, kids can compete with another player, and each player can select a difficulty level between 1 and 4. The first to enter the correct solution wins a star, and five stars wins the game. Finally, in Toolbox, kids manipulate an interactive hundred board to explore multiplication and division. The game accommodates multiple users and tracks each user's performance.
While it lacks distinct learning levels and has limitations with regard to progress tracking, this unique elementary math practice tool emphasizes the use of objects and senses to build comprehension. It also supports a handful of Common Core standards. Kids can learn about the commutative property of multiplication, and that multiplication is repeated addition. They can also learn about the relationship between multiplication and division. Kids use mental math strategies by writing the solution to a problem using their fingers. This option does present some touchscreen issues that could frustrate kids -- the system may not always recognize a hand-drawn number, such as 2, so kids have to keep trying until the number is recognized.
The game provides an engaging and innovative way for kids to work with fundamental math concepts and is best suited for practice rather than instruction. The models used to represent and solve problems should help kids build and retain comprehension, but without feedback and access to instructional hints, the learning experience is limited to practice or remediation. The opportunity to earn rewards and to challenge another player motivates kids to improve fluency. Overall, the app is a useful way for kids to practice important concepts, but don't count on a lot of instructional support.