Sumaze! is a cool problem-solving app that helps kids and adults build an intuitive approach to math. I’ve been playing it for for past week and it really is kind of addictive!
What I also love about it is that it’s low stakes – no timers and no negative audio sounds when you get the puzzle wrong, so it’s perfect for nervous young mathematicians!
Sumaze’s puzzles involve arithmetic, inequalities, the modulus function, indices, logarithms and primes and players don’t need ANY previous knowledge of these topics in order to play. This app was created by the UK organization Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Sigma network who provide support for excellence in mathematics and statistics.
If you and your family loved the Dragonbox suite of apps – you’ll love this too!
Watch the video below to see some of the Sumaze gameplay:
Sumaze! 2 is now also available. It includes puzzles which involve fractions, decimals, percentages, primes and digits.
Are you looking for some fantastic books to help boost your child’s love of math?
When done poorly, a book about math can be dull and confusing. However, when done well, and accompanied by unique perspectives and colorful illustrations, math books can be fun!
The following list of number-crunching books will prove this to even the most dubious of readers. All titles are winners of the 2016 Mathical prize, which honors books that cultivate a love of mathematics in young readers.
Whether you want to introduce a young child to their very first math concepts or supplement an older child’s math curriculum, this list is for you:
Using animals to explain math concepts is brilliant, because, which kid doesn’t like animals? In “Just the Right Size”, the author seeks to amuse children with animal trivia while using these familiar creatures to explain geometry concepts such as size and surface area.
Children are drawn to the cartoon characters, and parents enjoy learning new math and science trivia at the same time. The fun presentation makes it an ideal way to introduce concepts to inquisitive learners and reluctant math students alike.
Primarily a historical medical novel, The Great Trouble sneakily introduces math to young readers in the form of money.
While following the heroic adventures of the main character, who is struggling to support himself, readers are plunged into the world of economics.
Suitable for both fun and classroom, readers describe ”The Great Trouble” as:
” …historical non-fiction for kids that is also interesting for adults…”
“…perfect for young scientists.”
“…educational, yet by no means boring.”
“…a fascinating look at money, poverty, survival and illness in Victorian London”
Both a counting book and an alphabet book. The pages are filled with illustrations depicting over one hundred animal species (along with animal facts) and pages of counting opportunities (up to the number eight, the author’s preferred number.)
Definitely not a traditional counting or letter book, but one any preschooler will treasure, ”An Animal Alphabet” is :
“Illustrated with joy…an alphabet book to pore over, worth adding to any collection.” — School Library Journal, starred review
A classic book that introduces abstract mathematical concepts, and personifies both math and words as literal characters. The Phantom Tollbooth has delighted readers for over three decades, and continues to pique mathematical interest in readers of all ages.
Many parents today describe “The Phantom Tollbooth” as their first favorite book, and enjoy it even more as adults. What better book to share with a child?
Here is a book that offers a modern take on the importance of math. Not only is it a mystery novel filled with old-school learning concepts, such as logic puzzles, it focuses on one of the most progressive uses of math in our world today–computer coding.
A perfect gift for a child who is into computers or robotics, or who just needs some proof that STEM academics can be fun.
Parents and teachers both agree that this book is engaging, encouraging and enjoyable (for all ages!)
“… it encourages my daughter to read AND think about math, its a win-win in my book!..”
“…Such a fun and geeky book. It appeals to the kid in all of us, and my math-whiz kid loved the puzzles.”
Follow Max and his brothers as they set off on an adventure to find Shapesville. Their path is littered with numbers and shapes, and along the way they learn about counting, problem-solving, and basic geometry concepts.
The book is wonderful for the story itself, and presents numerous opportunities for parents to introduce new math games (such as finding hidden numbers).
A biography of the mathematician Paul Erdos, who was astonishingly brilliant with numbers, yet could not perform simple tasks like making his own bed. This story is for any child (or parent) who sees the world differently and strives to create their own learning environment.
The bright illustrations and joyful character can teach young readers that math is not something to be feared, since we see Paul so ecstatically happy about his numerical adventures.
One reader says:
“…thanks to this book, my child now dreams of becoming a mathematician.”
“You know, you can think of everything as a math problem..”
That is the prompt that sets the book in action, as a student realizes she is “cursed” by being surrounded by math problems.
A clever and excellent way to drive home the importance of why math skills are important and how we use them everyday to solve a variety of issues. (And also some silly, yet charming, mathematical philosophizing as the narrator laments why a person who has 10 cookies must have 3 taken away as her whole life becomes a series of word problems.)
With the addition of some “silly math” the author also teaches readers that there are some problems that one cannot solve with math.
Again, a book that takes math beyond the school room and into real life. Cunningly hidden inside the story of a city girl who moves to the farm and rather reluctantly becomes a chicken farmer, are everyday math problems she must solve. Such as how to calculate the amount of water needed for a certain number of chickens per day, and how to measure for roosting poles.
For children who don’t dream of being physicists or engineers, its helpful to show how math is still useful in their own real world lives. Little math problems are just as important to your success, no matter which undertaking you choose.
Parents have described this book as funny, diverse, thought-provoking, powerful, and worth reading over-and-over.
This is the book to perk up reluctant teen math students.
This adventure story links multiple academic subjects together (much as the Master himself did). Follow the three young characters as they help a resurrected da Vinci on his quest to better humanity.
“..a great book for merging math and science together. We read it as part of our homeschool curriculum, and my daughter loved it.”
Along the way the 3 young characters play the role of both students and teachers to the grand master; an empowering way to show children that what they learn today, they can use for teaching others tomorrow.
How can I get my child to do their boring math homework?
What happens when you mix the coolest thing in the world – math – with the uncoolest thing in the world – homework? Did you answer, “Fun!!” I though not! Of course if your child doesn’t think math is the coolest thing in the world then math + homework = sulking + tantrum + there goes the evening
Hello Caroline from www.mathsinsider.com and again and I’m going to answer questions from a Math Insider reader which was “How can I get my child to do their boring math homework?”
Okay, so my first piece of advice is don’t, don’t make them do that boring math homework. If the teacher’s giving them boring homework don’t make them do it, you can be that parent. So I can give you an example, I do have one of my Tabtor parents and she’s actually told her child’s school that her child is not going to do the math homework because the work that her child is doing at Tabtor is far more valuable in helping them, much more than the school homework. So yes she’s radical, that’s pretty cool. So you could follow that example and look for a different resource, look for something that is much more fun, so games or Tabtor or some computer games or some online games or an app that practices that specific skill in a more interesting way and tell the teacher they haven’t done their homework, so that’s the first option.
Actually I have done that, I do that with my six year old’s spelling words, so usually we do them on a board, on a white board with a board pen or I write them on the shower stall or he writes them on the shower stall or on the window, and so his actual spelling book doesn’t have the words and the sentences because he’s written them on the shower stall, so the first time I did this, I actually took a picture of the work on the shower stall with the spellings so that the teacher could see what I was doing, but I haven’t had any comeback from the teacher, so I think I’m getting away with that. So you can follow my example and my Tabtor parents example and just say nope, I’m not doing that.
2. Make math homework a game
The next tip is to actually challenge your child to do their homework and say hey, I reckon you could do this homework in five minutes, but I tell you what, if you do it in 7 minutes, I will give you X, or I bet you can’t do it in seven minutes or bet you can’t do it in 3 minutes. See if that works for your child, it works for some children, or you could say okay you tell me the answers and I’ll write it down. So just make it into a bit of a fun game and into a challenge.
3. Don’t engage in the math homework battle
And number three is to let your child suffer the natural consequences of not doing their homework, so bounce it back to the teacher, don’t get them to do the homework and see if they get detention, they get told off. Hopefully they are not going to fall behind, because hopefully you’re supporting your child on their math topics in other ways. So let them suffer the natural consequences or you know write a letter to the teacher and explain your philosophy.
So, Number 1 is, just don’t do the homework find some way cooler way to practice that skill. Number 2, is to challenge them to do their homework and Number 3 is to let your child suffer the natural consequences of not doing their math homework.
The holidays are a great time to consolidate math knowledge. Find out how your child can use the holidays to get ahead in math and still have plenty of time for fun and relaxation. The transcript of the video is below. Click here to watch this video on You Tube
Hello, I’m Caroline from MathsInsider.com and today I’m going to share with you some tips about how to keep maths going over the holiday. So today is the first day of my kids school holiday and I’m hoping to keep some maths going for them. So I thought I’d share some of the tips that I’m using with my own kids and I’m sharing with my Tabtor students as well.
Relax and enjoy the holidays!
So, number one, it’s not a case of, “You’ve got to do maths the whole holiday! Maths, maths, maths.” Yes, of course, you must have time to relax. Your kids must have time to relax, to stare at the ceiling, to open their presents, to enjoy time with their family and friends. But also, the holidays are a great time to get ahead with maths and to consolidate ideas, so it is worth trying to slot a little bit of maths into the holidays.
In Australia, they’ve got the big summer holiday, it’s six weeks. The rest of the world is probably about two or three weeks but in those two or three weeks, even if you’re having Christmas day off, New Year’s Day off, you can still get lots of maths done.
Identify 1 or 2 math topics to focus on
So the first thing to do is to actually identify what topics you want to cover. So think back to any topics that your child has come home with which they’ve struggled with in their homework or topics that your teachers mentioned. Or you could look ahead to see what they’re doing, if you’ve had a newsletter from school and see if there’s any topics on there that you can identify. Don’t try and do the whole curriculum, the whole syllabus in one holiday, that’s going to drive you crazy. And as a parent, you need time to relax as well, so just try to identify one or two topics.
For my little one, I’m trying to just do the twos, fives, and tens times tables. I think he kind of knows them, but I just want to make sure that he can kind of do them out of order. So just pick something really simple and if you’re not sure, just grab — if they’re an older kid, you can grab their maths book and see, “Well, they didn’t get good grades on this topic or that topic.”
Fix a “math time”
Number two is to fix a time when you’re going to do this work. So maybe first thing in the morning. For my own kids, they like to go out and play. The main thing in holidays is that they’re allowed to play out after dark so I’ll say to them, “If you want to go out and play with your friends after dark, then let’s just do a little bit maths.” So fix the time. Is it going to be first thing in the morning? Is a going to be before they go out to play? Is it going to be straight away after lunch? Try and fix the time, that this will be the maths time. I’m not saying that they should spend an hour doing maths, that’s fine if they’re willing to do that and they’re happy to do that, but even two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes is going to add maths knowledge into their lives.
Choose fun math resources
The next thing is to choose your resources. So your kids might not want to sit down with a maths book or lots of maths worksheets, so use this time to introduce something slightly more interesting or relaxing. So if you want to use some seasonal worksheets and print those off, that’s fine. For the times tables I’m using a cute little app called Squeebles because that’s kind of fun and they get to play as well as do times tables, so that’s something slightly different. But if you’re already on a program like Kumon or Tabtor, that’s fine. You can do the standard things, but don’t make them. Try to make it a bit more interesting. This should be a time spent with family and friends so you don’t want to be stressed and give them the worst options. Try to give them the best options.
Highlight everyday math
The next thing is to just introduce, just highlight maths in your everyday life. So in the holidays you’ve got sales, you can talk about numbers of the sales, you can talk about how many Lego bricks do you think you’ve used for this set – estimating. You can talk about maths journey times if you’re traveling or family and friends are coming to visit you. So just be aware to highlight the maths that’s around you during this time.
I’ve had lots of great responses already! Thanks to those who have filled the survey. One parent asked the question ” How Can I Keep my Kids Motivated on their Supplementary Math Program?”
Click below to find out 3 great ways to help keep your child motivated when they start complaining about their math program, whether it’s Kumon, Tabtor Math, Khan Academy or any one of the myriad of math programs out there:
How do you keep your child motivated when they just don’t want to do math?
I highlighted how cool math podcasts are in my post here on Maths Insider, Listen Up! 8 Fascinating Podcasts to Spark a Love of Math in Your Teen. I still listen to podcasts in my car but recently Mr Maths Insider bought me a waterproof bluetooth speaker which I use to listen to podcasts in the shower (too much info??). Since then, I’ve discovered more cool science and math podcasts which I share below. Some are great for young kids and some will inspire teen mathematicians. Check the descriptions below. You can also click on each of my favorite episodes right here in the post!
1. Brains On – great for kids
Brains On by Minnesota Public Radio describes itself as a podcast featuring science for kids and curious adults. My younger kids like listening to Brains on episodes as they fall asleep at night. Great for kids and adults.
Maths Insider pick: Numbers
The questions we have about numbers are uncountable – but here are a few of them: Where does zero come from? How is there more than one kind of infinity? What is it like to do math when numbers have different colors – and personalities? click below to listen to the Numbers episode.
2. The Infinite Monkey Cage – British wit + science
The Infinite Monkey Cage is a British podcast science podcast which describes itself as a “Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. The show is presented by Professor Brian Cox and stand up comedian Robin Ince. This podcast does make me chuckle and is great proof that scientists do have a great sense of humor. Great for teens and adults.
Maths Insider pick: Numbers Numbers Everywhere
Although many people fear maths and will admit to dreading any task that requires even basic skills of numeracy, the truth is that numbers really are everywhere and our relationship with them can, at times, be oddly emotional. Why do so many people have a favourite number, for example, and why is it most often the number 7? Click below to the Numbers, Numbers Everywhere episode.
3. Planet Money – short, sweet and always interesting
On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks – all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy. Each episode of Planet money is relatively short (about 15 – 20 mins long) and it’s one of the few podcasts that i listen to where I like to make sure i’ve listened to every episode as they are always really interesting regardless of the topic. Great for pre teens, teens and adults.
Maths Insider pick:The Long Run
Stories about a $50,000 loophole, what neighborhoods mean for kids, and what the Six Million Dollar Man would cost today. This is my favorite podcast episode in this post! Click below to listen to The Long Run episode.
4. Science Weekly – serious science simplified
The Guardian’s science team brings you the best analysis and interviews from the worlds of science and technology. I only discovered this podcast recently thanks to fellow Tabtor tutor Dan Cox who shared it on his Delta Maths Facebook page. So far, I’ve only listened to the episode below, but I’ve already picked out some other episodes of Science Weekly to listen to. Great for pre teens, teens and adults.
Maths Insider pick:How maths can change your life
Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg argues that maths can help all of us become sharper thinkers. This episode has some cool insights and discussion focusing around how everyone needs math. Click below to listen to How maths can change your life.
5. The Story Collider – live science storytelling
According to Story Collider, “Science surrounds us. Even when we don’t notice it, science touches almost every part of our lives. At the Story Collider, we believe that everyone has a story about science—a story about how science made a difference, affected them, or changed them on a personal and emotional level. We find those stories and share them in live shows and on our podcast. Sometimes, it’s even funny.” I’m a fan of story telling podcasts such as This American Life and The Moth, so the Story Collider podcast with its mix of science and story telling is a favorite listen of mine. Great for teens and adults.
Maths Insider pick: Your Favorite Number: Alex Bellos is surprised that people ask him what his favorite number is, so he decides to ask everyone what theirs is.
Take a listen to the math podcasts above. Which ones did you like? Tell me in the comments below.
While many educators agree that it is essential to improve the quality of math education in our public schools, a debate persists about how it should be done. Do we work with the students who are struggling, so that they can do better? Or do we push the students who are excelling, so they can move on to even greater things? Budgets are tight and many schools are pushed to decide one path or the other. Fortunately, many online resources can challenge gifted math students with new coursework and an outlet for their ingenuity. Here’s what you should know if you’re an educator or parent in need of inspiration.
Challenge Math is meant for students in grades 2-6 who have shown great talent for mathematics and who are eager for an extra outlet. It’s set up with two semesters of coursework, a fall and a spring, which can be done separately or together. It focuses on problem-solving strategies suitable for their age group, including diagrams, lists, logic, and learning how to work backwards from a solution. An early start on cultivating a love for math can go a long way in a child’s education, and learning how to solve problems logically is a useful skill in many contexts.
Math Zoom is another rigorous, yet fun, math course for students who have demonstrated an excellence in the subject. It has both an in-person and online options, and both provide training for students who would like to enter into mathematics competitions. Like many of these courses, they focus on areas of math and problem solving which go beyond what the typical classroom can provide. In addition, they offer a deep level of analytical, logical, and problem solving training which can help them when taking advanced high school or university level math courses. The Math Zoom academy provides training and coaching to push gifted students into their full potential and help them experience the brilliant world of mathematics firsthand.
Omega Math is affiliated with Woodbury University and offers online math courses for both credit and non-credit options. It has a full range of class levels, from basic math skills all the way up to Calculus III. For people who love math and want to further their understanding of it at any level with the option of getting extra college credit, this is a great resource. It is entirely online, so the learning can happen on your own or with help from the online tutors, and upon passing the course, a student will have a college transcript and list of credits when taken with the credit option. There’s even a business calculus option for those interested in learning how calculus can relate to real world business problems. More info on great careers for math wizzes can be found at thebestcolleges.org
Alumcus is a free online set of mathematics courses designed to get harder as the student learns more and becomes capable of more advanced calculations. Also, if a certain topic becomes harder to pass, there are more problems which can be added into the curriculum to give extra practice. There are built-in progress reports, so everyone can see where they’ve done the best and where they need extra work, to give the student a genius-level degree of understanding what they know and what they’ve improved upon.
Math carries with it very important problem solving and logic skills which can be applied to anyone’s life. It is very important, therefore, that students with a gift for math develop their skills as fully as possible, or that talent will not be properly strengthened.
Joseph Rodriguez writes all about math and education. His recent work is on the best Masters programs in Math in the US.
Technology is a huge part of teenage lives today. Modern high school students are comfortable with technology, and just about every one of them has access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Technology also has something of a negative stigma. Parents are usually looking for ways to limit screen time. This technology, however, can have positive uses and impacts on student lives. There are a variety of useful math apps students can download for free or very cheap to their iPhone or iPad.
There are a variety of apps, some free and some for a few bucks, that turn an iPhone into a full graphing calculator. Gone are the days when parents were forced to spend $80 or more on graphing calculators for their students’ algebra and geometry classes. This math app for high schoolers does everything you would expect from a graphing calculator, including draw functions and perform advanced calculations.
This $3 app gives students an algebra tutor right on their phone. The Algebra Touch math app provides a series of lessons and practice problems that explore the concepts of middle and high school algebra. The app is great for visual learners because students can swipe to manipulate the problem right on their screen. The app also provides step-by-step instructions for students who are struggling to learn the concepts.
This $2 app is like downloading an interactive math textbook to a smartphone. The app covers all areas of high school math, including algebra 1 and 2, geometry, probability, statistics, trigonometry and calculus. The app has an incredible amount of information and content for its price. While it is not as game-like as other teaching tools, it does give students the tutorials, examples and practice they need to be successful in their math classes.
While this free app is not strictly a math app, SAT Up covers math, critical reading and writing as presented on the SAT exam. The SAT is an important part of any high school student’s life, and its scores have a large impact on that student’s access to colleges and chance of academic scholarships. Math is a key area on the SAT, and preparing for the math section of the test usually takes some hard work on the student’s part. This app gives students hundreds of practice SAT questions so they can get accustomed to what the test contains and get an idea of how they might score. It will also help them identify weak areas where they could use some more practice or tutoring.
This free app is a database of important math formulas covering all areas of high school math and beyond. Students often struggle with math questions because they cannot recall the proper formula or are unable to find that formula in their textbook. This is an excellent companion study too to help students who may be drowning in formulas.
This high school math app is free and has an incredible level of useful content. The app covers all areas of math with multiple courses and hundreds of lessons per course. The lessons are delivered via video recording, so students can listen to instructions and watch examples as if they had a live tutor. This is a great option for students who may be struggling to learn from textbooks alone and need more instruction beyond their class time.
Apps can be a great way to support your child’s learning. Rather than taking technology away, reinforce that there are positive and constructive ways to use that technology. Especially if you have a struggling student, these apps and others like them can put your child back on the path to success.
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.
This is a guest post by Adrian Beckett maths tutor extraordinaire!
In my last blog post on the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Skills Mental Maths Test, Can You Pass the Maths Test For Teachers, we looked at the all-important times tables. Without them, so much of maths becomes more difficult, and for those intrepid trainee teachers doing the QTS Skills Test, if they don’t know them there chances of passing the test becomes much less.
In this post, I’ll be looking at how to answer a question from the QTS Skills Test which involves multiplying three numbers using mental maths. This is the sort of question we are looking at:
100 pupils correctly completed a sponsored spelling test of 56 words.
Each pupil was sponsored at 5p per word. How much did the pupils raise in total?
The prerequisite knowledge is
Knowing your times tables
Being able to multiply a number by a multiple of 10 (simple enough – just add on the zeros)
You are faced with this sum: 100 x 56 x 5 As you have very little time in the QTS Skills Mental Maths Test – only 18 seconds, you can’t rely on short multiplication alone to answer it and you need to identify quickly which order to multiply the numbers and how to multiply.
Check out this video post:
Adrian Beckett and his band of London Maths Tutors offer maths tuition for students and workshops for maths teachers in person and over Skype. He also blogs about maths learning for children and adults, those all important maths exams and dyscalculia at www.adrianbeckett.co.uk/blog
If your child struggles with the times tables, check out my 31 Days to Faster Times Tables product to help your child to faster, more confident times tables