Earlier this month, the United States won the Math Olympiad tournament for the first time in 21 years. It’s a huge accomplishment, no doubt. And, yes, there is definitely room for improvement: Of the 12 competitors on the team, only 2 were girls, reports Time magazine.
Nevertheless, given the fact that the US snagged the win after more than a two-decade dry spell is huge news. So how can we keep the momentum going? Here are the top math apps for elementary school students that can teach and reinforce math skills while making it — wait for it — fun! Yes, fun. These apps are best for kids in third and fourth grade, with a focus on multiplication, fractions and and multi-step thinking.
An interesting riff on the standard math drill, this beautifully drawn app reinforces basic addition, subtraction and time telling skills through four sets of wonderfully designed games. Quirky yet completely engaging, the games challenge kids in increasingly complex math problems that go beyond adding and subtracting and involve deduction and pre-algebraic, flexible thinking. A great tool to help kids connect math with fun. Parents may also want to give it a go.
Here’s a way to conceptually understand physics and fractions. Kids help a wooly mammoth move from point A to B by leveling obstacles and slicing and dropping lava and ice to clear the way. But here’s the kicker: The game challenges players to slice those items in ways that will level the landscape. One rock and four obstacles? You’ll have to quarter it! 90 puzzles get harder as kids progress. Once kids get it, they’ll have a hard time putting it down.
Kids can jump into this app and duel with a friend, sibling or parent in a head-to-head math combat which tests how quickly kids can answer a given math problem. With a split screen design, the app lets kids choose a category of math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or a combination of any of them), set the degree of difficulty and start sparring with numbers. The free version will be sufficient to keep most math fiends fully occupied for hours; $1.99 unlocks all math operations.