Bottom Line: a whopping 2800 common core aligned middle school math problems presented in a variety of formats for Free. You won't need any number sense to figure out the absolute value of this deal.
If you have a child in grades 5-9 download BuzzMath Middle School (Free, iPad 2,3 and 4 only) right now using our smartappsforkids.com approved link:
There are a seemingly infinite number of apps that allow kids to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We've had a run of top pick math apps that even put fun in the equation. Middle school students haven't been as lucky until now. BuzzMath Middle School from Scolab is outstanding. It makes as good a case for 1:1 iPad deployment in a classroom as any app I've seen.
BuzzMath began as an online solution for math teachers. Students are given a classroom code and receive their assignments when they login. The iPad app builds on this model. Once teachers enter their class roll they can assign topics simply by checking a box. It's all paperless and makes keeping up with differentiated learning a snap. Sixth graders that have demonstrated proficiency in all their benchmarks can begin 7th grade skills. Seventh graders that lack a proper foundation in decimals and percentages can be assigned review work from 6th grade problem sets. Even if 20 different kids are working on 20 different things, teachers need not despair because it's all data tracked. No more grading papers while watching Dancing with the Stars either.
If your child's school isn't quite ready for the digital age and its classrooms haven't flipped, you can still take advantage of all BuzzMath has to offer just by downloading the free app which is fully functional and an absolutely terrific bargain. Did I hear a Holy Crud this is free? Internet is required though so make sure you have a decent wireless connection.
BuzzMath includes all the common core state standards for grades 6-8 math and NCTM standards because of course we can't have standard standards now can we? They are clearly broken out by topic and each topic has further subsets that present problems in a variety of formats to insure generalization. The covered topics are:
- Number Sense and Operations
- Rational Numbers
- Divisibility, Factors, and Multiples
- Roots, Exponents, and Scientific Notation
- Number Properties
- Percents, Ratios, and Proportions
- Patterns and Sequences
- Algebraic Expressions
- Equations, Functions, and Inequalities
- Data, Graphs, and Probability
Just to give you an example of the broad scope of this app and all the FREE content available, Sixth Grade Decimals alone includes 29 activities ranging from estimating and rounding to multiplication. Problems include hands-on things like graphs and number lines that fully utilize the touch capabilities of the iPad.
As topics are completed, the student's menu tracks progress with stars. If your child likes to bounce around that's ok too as partial completion is marked with a half star kind of like our reviews. Everything is unlocked so students can work in the order they learn the skills which may differ from state to state. Although many eighth graders now routinely complete Algebra I, it is not considered typical middle school fare, so the app only covers through pre-algebra.
There are hundreds of worksheet type problems, but there are also very challenging and inventive missions. These are elaborate word problems with a whole back story. One involved ordering numbers from least to greatest by dragging them (can't do that on paper). Sounds easy except the numbers required adding or subtracting irregular fractions. I did miss a scratch pad on this exercise as my math is good but my memory is feeble and I couldn't keep track of the value of the fractions once I reduced them. Long division is thankfully not big in middle school so most of the problems are conducive to mental math. A pop-up calculator is available when the problem doesn't require computation as part of the target skill.
Another thing that separates this app from so many others is the way in which wrong answers are treated. Instead of just getting an X or buzzer, kids get a hint and then a new problem working on the same skills. Subscribers get a full step by step demonstration of how to solve the missed problem, but often just a second chance is enough to get the hang of it.
The premium features also include audio reading of the text and instructions which may be very helpful for English Language Learners or other learners with special needs. All content for school or home use is free until July 1, 2013 so don't let the summer slip by without checking out this Big Kid bonanza of an app. My own fifth grader actually didn't mind playing and has decided sixth grade will be very easy based on what he's seen so far.
Jill Goodman's mother taught seventh grade math for most of her teaching career and she too gives this app her seal of approval. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.