Many of you are familiar with the award-winning free app called Zapzapmath. I first learned about it through an email about their newly updated platform–
…addictive math games..
kids fall in love with math..
free, higher order thinking games…
I have to admit, I was intrigued. Not a lot of math apps can fulfill these claims. Could Zapzapmath, with that zippy name, beautiful visual graphics, lively music, and the space theme, come through? I downloaded it and took it for a test drive. Here’s what I found: Fifty (at the date of this publication) free fast-paced K-6 interactive math games that are Common Core-aligned and suited for varied student learning styles, with activities that advance with student skills, and no internet connection required (though WiFi is required). Student activity is recorded to the teacher (or parent) dashboard, making it easy to focus on areas of difficulty. And parents are partners, having access to their child’s progress, right down to the minutiae of the skills they learned, like “knows the meaning of equal sign”.
Game categories include:
- Addition and Subtraction
Here’s how it works for students:
- Download the app, choose an avatar, a name, and a grade level.
- Join a class with a provided code.
- Choose which math skill you’d like to practice, review, or test for speed.
- Answer math problems and advance, to the accompaniment of motivating music. If you’re stuck, get a tutorial.
- Play against your best score or that of anyone in the Zapzapmath community (the latter is anonymous and without contact).
- At any time, use the menu to choose a different math specialty or pause play.
Teachers: Register through Zapzapmath.com and set up a class. You can add students and classes, manage them, and get detailed reports on all activity.
In the crowded math app field, Zapzapmath is ranked variously as “Both instructional and beautiful,” by TechCrunch, “definitely makes learning about fractions more fun,” by Tech in Asia, and “Cleverly addictive,” by CNet Japan.
Zapzapmath gamifies not only math processes, but the higher-order thinking skills so critical to understanding concepts, like problem-solving, critical thinking, and logic.
Multiple students can use one iPad game simply by adding their names.
Amazingly, there are no ads and no in-app purchases. How do the Zapzapmath folks do that? As a teacher, that’s a go-nogo decision point.
I’d like a way to turn off the music. It’s robust, full-flavored, and for people like me, distracting–especially when I’m doing math! I understand they’re looking into that.
Each game offers a ‘repeat’ option with a twist: They are played at a higher level of difficulty. This challenges students to build on their knowledge while working faster and smarter.
Zapzapmath works great as a class warm-up or exit ticket. Student work shows up in the teacher dashboard so easily reflects their formative and/or summative knowledge. It can be used to supplement classwork, enrich learning, or as homework that students want to do.
Overall, Zapzapmath makes learning math a choice rather than a chore. If you’re a parent, consider this a guilt-free iPad game for your kids!
Here are screenshots of the app:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
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