The Math Learning Center is a non-profit organization that grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the teaching of mathematics. They have created free apps that can be used on iPads, Chromebooks, and on the web on a computer. The district App Review Committee has reviewed and approved seven of their apps. These apps are all open-ended and use virtual manipulatives and tools. These are not guided games or activities so in most cases teacher direction would be necessary, but students can explore mathematical concepts. If teachers want to keep track of what a larger group of students are doing, the students could take screen shots, and could use the screen shots in another apps to explain their thinking (Keynote, Explain Everything, Numbers, etc.) Below are summaries of each of the apps.
Geoboard is a tool for exploring a variety of mathematical topics. Learners stretch bands around pegs to form line segments and polygons and make discoveries about perimeter, area, angles, fractions, and more. They can fill in created shapes with colors to support understanding of planes.
Money Pieces helps users visualize and understand money values and relationships. Users view and use the coins and bills in two ways: first, simply as coins or bills, and second, with a view that shows their value using base ten blocks. Users can set up problems with a writing tool.
Number Frames allows users to arrange counters in number frames. They can choose from 5-, 10-, 20-, 100-frame, or create their own. There is also a choice of color and shape of counters, with two contrasting colors to show addition facts. Users can add number sentences or draw on the screen. Drawing layer only shows up when the pencil tool is selected.
Number Line helps students visualize number sequences and demonstrate strategies for counting, comparing, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Number lines may be labelled with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, or negative numbers. There are quite a few options for different kinds of practice.
In Number Pieces Basics, users manipulate ones, tens, and hundreds blocks to analyze math problems and develop an understanding of place value. Users can separate the tens and hundreds blocks into ones or tens, and separate pieces can also be joined into the next larger piece. In this Basic version, designed for younger users, the different types of blocks (100, 10, and 1) are different colors. Once users separate the pieces to be able to change to the next smaller piece, the color changes to the color of the smaller piece. Users can write an equation using a pen tool or a text tool.
In Number Pieces, users manipulate ones, tens, and hundreds blocks to analyze math problems and develop an understanding of place value. Users can separate the tens and hundreds blocks into ones or tens, and separate pieces can also be joined into the next larger piece. Users can write an equation using a pen tool or a text tool.
Number Rack provides users with a rekenrek tool that can be used to calculate math problems. Users can write on the screen or use a number pad to type in equations. A question mark shade can cover part of the rekenrek.