Mobile Monday: Algebra Touch – rearrange, slide, and tap numbers and operations to solve problems

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: Algebra Touch for iPad (HD) and iPod touch.

Cost: 2.99$ (or free demo available)

Quick overview: An app that allows math students to use their fingers to move around variables in order to solve an algebra problem. Elegant, minimal, visual, beautifully simple. I really wish I had this back in high school!

How can it be used my classroom? This app could be useful for students struggling with the traditional approach to learning algebra. Students use the app to drag and rearrange single-variable polynomials so that like terms are together for easier adding. Students can tap the operator between the terms to compute answers. Terms can be factored or combined until the variable is isolated. Students or teachers can also create their own problems to rearrange and solve.

What do students think? A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to use this app with students in an Adult Ed classroom (thank you Mr. Robert More!) and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. One student commented that the app was like a game at first, but she needed to figure out the rules (i.e. order of operations) in order to solve the equations. Walking around the classroom, we quickly noticed that the students started downloading it (and paying for it!) on their own iPods and iPhones. A picture is worth a thousand words, but we had 31 “thumbs-up” from the a classroom of 31 students at the end of the day!  If you’d like to try this in your own Quebec FGA classroom, please let us know!

Video Tutorial: For a demonstration of how the app works, click the video below:

(Source: Certain parts of the “How can it be used in the classroom” description have been quoted/paraphrased from the Common Sense Media website. Due to YouTube being blocked in many of our schools, the demonstration video has been re-packaged from the Algebra Touch YouTube channel)

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