I joke that I was a communication major because I was terrible at math. It's half true. My whole school career of math classes -- struggling through the homework and scraping by on the tests -- was a nightmare. I can still hear the "Schoolhouse Rock" songs about multiplication tables in my head to this day.
I'm know other people share my feelings, liberal arts major or not. If only I'd had the math homework apps now available to help. There apps can help kids of all ages (and their parents) understand math better. We've compiled a list of 10 apps to help parents brush up on their skills, students check their answers, or get step-by-step explanations on a problem.
1. Peter Pig's Money Counter
Peter Pig's Money Counter app (iOS, Android) helps children ages 5-8 learn about counting, coin sorting, and basic money skills. With the app's simple activities, kids will learn about budgets and saving and earn rewards for doing so.
The app has three interactive games, Value of Money, Count Off, and Which is Greater?, with three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, or hard). For answering questions correctly, kids will win virtual money and get extra awards the longer they save it. With their "money," they can buy clothes or accessories to dress up Peter Pig in the game.
2. iTooch Middle School
iTooch (iOS, Android]) has more than 10,000 exercises on its app for middle schoolers for math, language arts, and health. The program breaks down the subject-specific apps into sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.
Designed by middle school teachers, the app uses a simple, colorful layout to engage the student. iTooch features a built-in calculator and lesson summaries. Each grade app features mini-games with rewards, tests to reinforce the lessons, and chances to unlock levels.
The sixth grade level builds on foundational math skills like multiplying and dividing fractions, calculating percentages, conversions, and factors. Seventh grade tackles order of operations and solving inequalities and dives further into algebra. The eighth grade level helps users prepare for high school with logic and reasoning skills. The app covers graphs, data, geometry, statistics, and probability.
3. Socratic Math and Homework Help
By taking a picture of a homework problem, the app uses AI to help you solve it. Educators created the app, and it uses easy-to-understand language throughout its content.
The app also helps with other subjects too. To prove its effectiveness, Socratic's website has a page of sample problems in math, science, and humanities to test out the app.
4. IXL Learning
The award-winning IXL app (iOS, Android) adapts to student learning levels depending on your understanding of the material. The app provides recommendations on how to better improve on troublesome areas for K-12.
IXL's app uses interactive activities and virtual prizes to celebrate learning. The app features graphing tools, visuals, and a handwriting recognition mode to work out problems on the screen's "scratchpad."
The only downside to IXL might be the membership fee. It's optional, but a lot more content is available by subscribing. With the free version, only 10 practice questions are available daily. IXL members pay $9.95 per month and get unlimited access to practice questions in all the subjects the app has available. Educators can get a classroom quote on IXL's website.
5. Math With Your Friends
This app is a math version of Scrabble, or the popular smartphone app, Words With Friends. Instead of words, users make mathematical equations to score points. Instead of double and triple word scores, Math With Your Friends (iOS, Android) has multipliers to boost your score.
Like the Scrabble-esque counterpart, users can play with friends, random opponents, or invite people from their contacts list. The app has a chat feature that might be useful if the app is being used to practice math.
The Mathway app (iOS, Android) is like the tutor you never knew you needed and is available for Windows as well as mobile devices. Mathway covers basic math to trigonometry and everything in between. It's really easy, too.
The interface is similar to a text message and Mathway asks how it can help. Type your problem and send it. Mathway will respond by asking how it should answer. Depending on what type of math you've entered, app will offer to graph, find intercepts, quadratic formulas, complete the square, and more. Mathway will solve the problem and show it to you in steps.
A downside is that it could be really easy to cheat. When used properly, the app can help you improve your math skills.
The MathPapa app (iOS, Android) works for smartphones and PC. Operating similarly to Mathway, MathPapa lets you enter the equation you're having trouble with and solves it for you step-by-step. The app's layout looks like a calculator and then shows the steps in a larger screen.
MathPapa offers premium access at $10 per month or $60 for a year.
On the website or app, choose a subject, type your question and students from around the world can help find you an answer. Moderators keep an eye on answers and questions to make sure everything stays civil and as accurate as possible.
The app covers elementary school through college and multiple subjects and is free after you make an account.
If you're not in the mood to type in your equation, the Photomath app (iOS, Android) might be good for you. It's a "camera calculator." Using your smartphone's camera, you can take a photo of the problem you're working on directly from your notebook or textbook.
Photomath works similarly to the other apps and will solve the equation step by step. The app works with basic, intermediate, and advanced math, and offers a handy graphing feature.
10. MyScript Calculator
The MyScript Calculator app (iOS, Android) lets you work out your math on a digital notebook with a little extra help. The intuitive app reads your handwriting and "translates" it into type. The app offers a "scratch out" option that deletes figures when you scribble over it.
The app offers a handful of nice features to make your work easier: It keeps merges your equation if it's long and doesn't fit in one row, it offers a drag-and-drop an answer to save it in case you need to hang on to an answer (perfect for a tablet with a stylus), and the app will fill in a missing number if you leave a "?" in an equation.
The app is free and works with all levels of math.
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