If you are already familiar with Dyslexia, it is easier to understand the things that happen when you have Dyscalculia. Although they are very different, here is an overview of where you see how it affects people similarly.
Tutoring children with Dyscalculia is most effective when done one on one. As it is valuable that the children continue to explore math between sessions, apps are a real good tool.
Apps come in all kind of forms and varieties. Many are free and some cost lots of money or give options to buy additional options from inside the app.
For an app to be effective for our purpose, I look for these things:
What does my student need to learn now?
Emphasize conceptual understanding
Balance entertainment and learning
How ‘busy’ is the screen?
How many adds?
How are mistakes handled?
Reward for getting things right?
Do you see the results?
Below I show some of my favorite apps. I do not get paid to review these apps and I am also not involved in the development of these apps. Just a recommendation from my experience with these apps.
Math Concentration by NCTM, this is an electronic version of the classic Memory game, with multiple levels starting at matching dots with numerals to matching fractions and percent, for one or two players. KG – 5th grade.
Counting Beads from Visual Math Learning has colored beads with numbers that stick to each other when combined in the right order. Kids have fun dragging the ever growing ‘train’ in wavy curves all over the screen. KG – 1st grade
Find Sums from MathTappers will teach kids the ‘missing number’ to make the selected target number (all numbers from 5 – 20 and 100), by showing green and red apples in a ten frame or as numbers in a part – whole frame. Self correcting: numbers don’t stick if you make a mistake. Grade 1 – 3
Make10Plus to learn the ’10 bonds’: similar to Find Sums, but with numbers instead of apples: all pairs that add up to ten by clicking on the other number that forms a pair with the presented number. Can be a bit fast in the beginning when child is starting to learn the ten bonds. Grade 1 – 2
Number Rack is the electronic version of the rekenrek (pronounced raikuhnreck), a manipulative from my native country the Netherlands. It has five red and five white beads, that slide on a metal bar in a very realistic fashion. You can add printed and written numbers to show the calculation; for larger numbers just add more bars. KG – Grade 2.
Number Line from the Math Learning Center, shows the connection between the number and the place on the number line, the size of a number. It has multiple options such as changing the size of the number line, with and without numbers. Addition and subtraction are easy to visualize with forward and backward jumps, multiplication with multiple similar jumps and screen touch to combine multiple jumps. the How to has a clear explanation. App. is a generous donation from Dr David Moursund. Grade 1 – 5.
Lobster diver from New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab asks you to use an underwater number line to retrieve your lobsters, you need to be quick and watch out for the electric eel! Apart from learning the number line it also develops planning. Grade 1 – 3
Visual Multiplication from Visual Math Learning starts with ‘Adding Beads’ a grid to drag balls with a number to their place. Two additional games are Chamber Maze, where you drag a ball with a nifty system to show the number along a maze that shows the multiplication as an area, and Pool Table, a game where you multiply the numbers on two balls to go in the hole with the number of their multiplication
Sushi Monster from Scholastic has addition and multiplication by placing two plates with food and a number on a round table in reach of a ravenous monster, who asks for a specific number and quickly gobbles up the food when the math is right. Grade 2 – 4.
Wings from Motion Math uses tilting your iPad to direct a bird to the highest of two numbers in multiplication, shown by a grid or a number. While flying to distant islands, you collect colored feathers for your bird, an innovative and a fun way to learn the multiplication facts. Grades 2 – 5.
Thinking Blocks from Math Play Ground is based on the Singapore way to solve word problems with part-whole strip models, and is useful alongside any text book to practice word problems. There are four activities: Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Fractions, and Ratio and Proportion. Grade 4 – 7.
Door 24 – Math developed by Curriculum Associates is based on the classic 24 games and starts with a robot telling the story and has an electrical wire that needs connecting by zapping moving ‘nanospheres’ with the fitting number into the slots. Multiple levels. Grades 3 – 7