Lattice Multiplication

 Lattice Multiplication

by Esa Helttula

Has your son or daughter come home from school asking for help with their math homework?  When you review it, do you sometimes feel slightly confused with the “new” approaches that your child is being taught.   Concerned that you won’t be able to support your child during their nightly homework routine?  All you can hear is your child saying, “I just don’t get this strategy of lattice multiplication.” While you are thinking to yourself, “whatever happened to the normal way of solving multiplication problems; lining up columns, recalling your multiplication number facts, carrying over the tens, and wrapping it up with addition.” With all these questions comes answers. Lattice multiplication is a method of multiplying large numbers using a grid.  Although this lattice multiplication strategy may seem different from the traditional ways of teaching, it is in reality equivalent to solving long multiplication.  When using this method it breaks the multiplication process into smaller steps, which some students find easier.  Have no fear, approaching math in this manner should not cause you to call for a tutor.  Your tutor can come in the palm of your hands as your child(ren) or student(s) learn and reinforce this mathematical skill with their mobile device.  From the developers of many well known educational math apps, Esa Helttula has been improving upon her design of Lattice Multiplicaton.

With a very simple design that is customizable for each mathematician, users will be pleased with the step by step visual approach and its ability to challenge students in a variety of ways.  Those using the application on an iPad might find it helpful to rotate your device.  By doing this, the orientation of the problem will change slightly.   Depending on the users learning style, one direction may be more appealing than the other.  For a teacher, the Lattice Multiplication app will intrigue many as it aligns with a number of mathematic programs currently in schools.  There are several features that Applicable2U loves about this educational app. As my students or even my son games for reason, we enjoy the fact that there are no adds incorporated, that in order to be challenged an in-app purchase isn’t required, wrong answers are not penalized and that a user can take their time to grasp and comprehend the math concept being presented.

Whether you are the teacher, a homeschooler, or the actual student integrating this application, it is important to establish your settings  prior to exploration.  Within the settings button, users can alter a variety of modes, however, when making these changes, be sure that you understand certain math vocabulary terms such as: multiplicand, multiplier, and operands. As you select new options, watch the problem design change in the background. For friends with color impairments, Esa Helttula has that covered, simply alter the screens background color to black, white or sepia.  If users feel that the animation of step by step directions is moving too fast, simply change the animation speed.  These academic accommodations alone has Applicable2U giving the Lattice Multiplication app a standing ovation.

Lattice Multiplication will fit nicely in a multitude of ways at home and in school.  Use this application for one to one instruction or use it in a whole group setting while your iPad device is connected to a projector.  As you incorporate your device, the projector and this educational app, your math class will feel as though they have an interactive whiteboard now in their presence.  Through our exploration, we noticed that the bank of questions or possible combination of numbers was endless and there did not appear to be the same problem twice.  Although this was the case, users can create their own problems by selecting the “set” button.  By double tapping inside each box, teachers, parents or students can build their own question set.  This is a nice feature as the Lattice Multiplication app can now be customized and used in the classroom to go over homework problems done at home.  In addition, to guide users, grids are pre-drawn, the multiplicand and multiplier are arranged around the grid for the players, and circled numbers are available when doing simple multiplication facts and adding. Through the use of highlighting, bigger problems  won’t seem so intimidating as you solve smaller operations.  Immediately, users are aware if they made an incorrect or correct tap of a number.  Those correct will move into place within the grid, however, those incorrect answers will simply sit at the bottom of the page, indicating an alternate solution is to be picked.  As the grid is filled inside, users will move from solving multiplication problems to solving simple addition problems.  When adding multiple numbers, it is important for late elementary players to use such strategies as finding combinations of 10.  At the completion of the problem, those numbers around the left side and bottom of the grid will magically appear as a completed number sentence.  A note to the developers – was there a particular reason that commas were left out?  Academically, Applicable2U would love to see a comma incorporated in the final solution.  This will reinforce place value and the ability to read large numbers.

Lattice Multiplication may seem foreign to many, but after practicing this approach on your mobile device, math will become a great deal easier. If math is a struggle for your child(ren) or student(s), then why not clear up those mathematical frustrations by downloading Lattice Multiplication to your Apple device.  Does your elementary student have other areas of math concern, then you will want to visit   Esa Helttula’s website here as she has 15 additional math applications in the Apple Store that will provide your child a number of “a ha” moments. You will not regret having paid $3.99 for Lattice Multiplication, it’s a lot cheaper than those expensive tutors.  To begin downloading it today simply click here to access it in your iTunes library.

Splash Math

  Splash Math
     by StudyPad, Inc.

Have you splashed into Math for Grade 3 yet on your iPad device?  If not, then you will want to take the leap today by jumping into their mathematical aquarium.  StudyPad released Splash Math Grade 3 at the beginning of the school year. It is a wonderful addition to the Educational App Store. It is quite obvious that curriculum standards were at the forefront of creating this educational app.  The models and usage of mathematical vocabulary are very well done.  When visiting StudyPad’s website, a particular quote struck me, “Your time is important, and so is the time you spend with the child. You will no longer be spending time correcting and evaluating hundred of sheets. Instead you will focus on real teaching. Splash Math is designed to provide deep insight into the student’s performance.”  This is an app that will support teachers, guide parents and their struggling third grader(s) in a non-threatening environment. Of the educational apps that I have reviewed, it is a more expensive application, however, the capabilities and skills that your child(ren) will  master will be well worth your money!!

Upon entering this application, I was immediately struck by the life like graphics coming alive as origami characters.  In addition, I was stunned at the number of mathematical skills that will be reinforced within three levels of play: Easy, Medium and Hard.  Splash Math Grade 3 truly encompasses an entire years worth of content in one download.  Chapters range from place value, to the four operations, time, measurement, geometry, data/probability, fractions/decimals and money.  When playing, a total of 5 users can be established on one device.  Initially, the only level of play open is easy.  As a user plays and succeeds, additional levels are then unlocked.  Having so many mathematical options, StudyPad has provided the teacher or parent the ability to set up the type of play mode that will occur with each experience.  Skills can be set to on or off depending on each users ability level.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to lock the skills page, allowing only a parent or teacher the ability to access via a password protection.  It is also important to note that along the way, the number of questions to be answered can also change.  The number of questions range from 10 to 100.  Now that is a lot of math!  It is an application that can be used throughout the school year.

As mentioned earlier, StudyPad chose to design Splash Math with the intent of saving time for a parent or teacher.  This is done with the help of progress reports designed as a report card or activity log.  To support the classroom teacher or a parent, those report cards can be emailed directly to them as a way to see the progress or lack of progress that their child(ren) are making as it relates to the third grade curriculum. Having such a report is very important as it informs further instruction.  Through our exploration, we did notice that there are very clear differences between the  “Play” and “Practice” mode.  Play mode will encompass all those skills that were set to on.  As they swim along, they will notice that questions/topics are chosen at random. The layout of the play mode screen is very clear.  However, I wonder if it might be possible to include a reading option of questions that users might be unclear of.  With very clear visual models and 4 bubble choices, users will be rewarded with up to 2 points which can be “cashed” in for prizes to add to your own aquarium.  At the top of the screen is a bar graph indicating how many questions have been answered and what level a user is currently working in.  A note to the developer – might it be possible to remove from the “play” mode, the curriculum topic/percentage indicator at the top.  If I understand it correctly, this same information is stored in the “practice” menu screen.  If however, they are two separate indicators, then it would be important to keep.  When incorporating the “practice” mode, here users can pick one particular area of need.  When that topic is chosen it is then narrowed down even further.  For example, Applicable2U happened to choose Addition.  That topic is then broken into 6 choices: properties of addition, two digit addition, three digit addition, four digit addition, estimate sums and a mixed review.  WOW!!!  By offering this option it allows the user(s) to choose the area that has the least percentage correct, thus indicating further reinforcement or teaching.

Overall, Applicable2U was very impressed by Splash Math for Grade 3.  In our opinion, we feel that the cost of this educational app should not stop you from downloading it to your iTunes library.  You will be amazed at how your child will progress in math as they will be encouraged to try more challenging mathematical subjects in a fun way.  By the end of the school year, what will your aquarium look like?  If you would like to learn more about StudyPad, Inc. and their other grade level specific apps, please visit their website here.  Is your elementary student feeling a little crabby about math?  Do you happen to be in 3rd grade?  Then begin downloading Splash Math Grade 3 to your iTunes library here.

Partial Product

Partial Product
by Esa Helttula

Partial what?  Are you telling me that there is another way to multiply?  It’s all about strategies and making sure that a teacher shares each of those techniques so a student can decide which way works best for them in finding the solution.  During my teacher lunch pow wow this morning, they were truly impressed with the capabilities that Partial Products had to offer.  All I kept hearing was, “Oh my goodness look how things move, visually this could really help our students understand this technique.  It’s as if the developer was reading our minds.”

Imagine your child comes home with this problem 91 X 41.  You hear them calling you for guidance and they explain to you that they need to use the partial product strategy.  Partial product reinforces multiplication facts from 0-12,  base ten and basic addition. Through the use of color coding and movement, multiplication of large numbers can become less stressful.  Here is what a user will experience while using this app:  STEP 1 – multiply 1 X 1.  STEP 2 – multiply 90 X 1.  STEP 3 – multiply 40 X 1.  Finally multiply 90 X 40.  From there students will use their knowledge of basic addition facts to find the solution.  As my fourth grade team members “played” with this app, they didn’t have anything negative to say about it but thought there could be one addition made to make the app a total package.

1) Would it be possible to have levels of difficulty?  Level 1 – For those struggling, would it be possible to have the problem and the solution move up together?

2) Level 2 – would appear as it does now.

Regardless of whether or not the developer decides to incorporate these suggestions, this app is a THUMBS UP!!!  It works right alongside the Everyday Math Program that we are currently working on in our town.  If you would like to learn more about the apps that Esa Helttula has to offer please click here or you can visit them in iTunes here.