This review is courtesy of Wynsum Arts’ Every App Has a Story, the stories behind Wynsum Arts’ distinguished apps.
“The purpose of Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart is to encourage discovery and active learning.”
– Fred Ventura, Ph.D., founder of Ventura Educational Systems
Hands On Math Hundreds Chart
Fred Ventura, who has a Ph.D. in education from the University of California-Santa Barbara, has taught elementary, middle school, high school and college level math classes. He also taught a computer-based math methods course at a university in Southern California. In this class, teachers working on their graduate degrees in education learned to build software to teach math with a computer.
“These early computers didn’t even have mice. We used arrow keys,” Ventura says. “But still, we saw the potential for open-ended math programs that were very different from the typical drill and practice math software.”
He recognized that computers could give what he calls “artificially intelligent” feedback to students and he knew that computers could be far more engaging than the plastic games or photocopied worksheets common in classrooms.
One of the programs he developed was the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart, which helps students to see patterns in numbers. “It is a tremendous tool for visual learners,” he notes.
While the program is successful on a computer, it truly fulfills its promise on the iPad. “On the iPad, the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart truly becomes ‘hands on,’” Ventura says. “There’s no mouse, no keyboard. Kids can concentrate on the numbers and the patterns – not manipulating the computer itself. In this case, the software was invented really before we had devices that could take full advantage of the concept!”
How Does the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart App Work?
Fred Ventura: The Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart is an open-ended program. The purpose of the software is to encourage discovery – not just finding the “right” answers. I purposely designed it so that teachers and children can use it in different ways.
At the most basic level, children can use the chart simply to learn their numbers. With the sound option on, the iPad reads each number aloud as that number is tapped.
As children advance in their math skills, the chart reveals patterns inherent in multiplication tables. For example, a child who counts by threes can cover every third square with a green square and discover a pattern of diagonal lines.
At a more complex level, students can discover the least common multiple by overlaying patterns. For example, if a student counts by 4, covering all multiples of 4 with red square and then counts by 6, covering all multiples of 6 with green X, the first square with both the red square and green X is the least common multiple of 4 and 6 – the concept is essential to understand when working with fractions and a precursor to understanding algebra.
There are so many ways teachers can direct lessons using the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart – and the app includes a 40-page instructional pdf to help teachers understand the potential of the program. The pdf can be downloaded from within the app itself and then accessed through iBooks.
The app also has an option to start at 0 or 1, to match the existing curriculum of every school district.
Why Did You Develop the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart App?
Fred Ventura: I love to see kids excited about discovery in math. Memorizing multiplication facts is important, but a deeper knowledge – truly understanding math concepts – will help students advance in math skills.
We created a tool that is dynamic, that works with today’s technology and that is extremely versatile. It can be used in classrooms from pre-K to high school.
Editor’s Note: In addition to Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart, Ventura Educational Systems has created a number of math apps, including:
- Number Sense: teaches whole numbers, fractions and decimals
- Color Tiles: patterns, multiplication, adding and subtracting, odd/even and equivalency
- Base Ten Blocks: creates virtual blocks of 100s, 10s and 1s or decimals to teach adding, subtracting and placing value (Spanish version available too)
- Multiplication Toolkit: teaches multiplication tables as well as multiplying money, i.e., four quarters equals $1 (Also available with Australian currency)
- Geoboard: this digital version replaces the old pegboard and rubber bands
- LineDesign: teaches polygons, angles and geometry
- Tangle Tables: practice adding and subtracting from a problem-solving perspective rather than a memorization drill
- Number Balance: features a scale where “weights” represent equations. A 2 and a 4 on one side of the scale balances out a 6 on the other side.
- Attribute Blocks: teaches logic and problem-solving, as well as set theory and geometry sequences, using shapes, sizes, and colors
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