Virtual Learning Amid School Closures for Corona Virus (COVID-19)

Experienced educators who are familiar with the challenges associated with responding to national emergencies know that school closures can affect children’s academic progress, safety and social lives.  Parents and teachers are now faced with extended school closures due to the threat of the corona virus (COVID-19).

According experts at this time more than 30,000 schools in the U.S. are being closed and this leaves more than 20 million students being asked to shift to online learning activities to keep their academic progress on target. Currently entire states have shutdown schools and some of the nation’s largest school districts have recently announced closures.

Ventura Educational Systems is offering five free apps to help elementary students to keep up their math skills:

Addition Puzzles

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Addition Puzzles is an exciting, interactive math game to help kids practice addition skills. Use logic to select the numbers that will solve the puzzle. Puzzles are randomly generated so the app offers an almost infinite number of puzzles at six different levels. Puzzles can be selected that involve just whole numbers from 0 to 20 or integers from -10 to 10.

Math Spin-o-Rama

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Use Math Spin-o-Rama to help your students practice and improve math skills.

Math Spin-O-Rama provides practice with two and three place addition with a new twist. The numbers in the problem are in the wrong place and must be rotated to be in the right place to fit the answer.

The app has four levels and includes practice in doing both two-place and three place addition. Math Spin-O-Rama makes learning fun. As students answer correctly they earn gold stars. Once they have earn five gold stars they get a chance to spin the wheel to earn a prize. The prizes are collected in a table.

Make learning fun with Math Spin-O-Rama.

Addition Blockmania

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Help Kids Learn Addition Facts and Improve Basic Math Skills!

Use Addition Blockmania to help your students practice and improve math skills.  This game challenges students to think quickly and be accurate. The object is to find a set of blocks in the stacks whose sum is equal to the given number.

The app offers four levels of activity. Larger numbers are used at the higher levels. Animation, sound effects and speech help to make this curriculum-based math activity exciting for young mathematicians. Elementary school teachers and parents with young students will find that kids enjoy practicing math skills when they are given this app to use.

On Target Math Skills

Help Kids Practice Arithmetic Skills and Problem Solving Abilities with On Target Math Skills.

The On Target Math Skills app generates an almost infinite number of puzzles where the challeng is to make a specific number given four other numbers. Students can use any of the four basic arithmetic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to try to solve the puzzle. In coming up with a solution, students will need to use the problem order of operations.

The app challenges the player to find 10 solutions in order to earn a trophy. The app offers 5 different levels of difficulty. The On Target Math Skills app is designed to be a quick math exercise that teachers can use to provide a quick basic arithmetic and problem solving activity.

Interactive Multiplication Chart

Help Kids Learn Multiplication Facts and Improve Basic Math Skills!

The Interactive Multiplication Chart app uses a grid to help students see the patterns in the addition table.

This app challenges the player to find an intersection on a grid where the product of the two multipliers fits the randomly selected problem description. Complete the activities by finding 10 correct answers. The Interactive Multiplication Chart app is designed to be a quick math exercise that teachers can use to provide practice with basic multiplication facts.

In addition to the free apps listed above Ventura Educational Systems offers a huge library of inexpensive apps focus on math, science and reading development. Our most recent releases are Hundreds Chart Deluxe, Math Connections I and II, and Phonics Connections.

Please visit our website for more information.

Phonics Connections

Get your kids on the right track for reading with Phonics Connections. The app contains motivating word games where the goal is to match vowel sounds to blanks in a word that describes a picture. This app is for beginning readers. Each of the activities feature color pictures illustrating words with short vowels, long vowels, special sounds like ar, or, er, ir and ur. In addition some of the words in the activities use the ou, ow, au, aw, and oo vowel sounds.
The app is designed to help students learn to read with ease and confidence. A connection from the vowel sound to the picture and word can be made using a finger, pointer, or Apple Pencil. Once the correct connection is made the word is pronounced and spelled using synthetic speech.

The app stores a record of the student’s progress as they continually try to improve their score. Speech and sound effects make using the app even more fun. Click the dice icon to get a randomly generated design and starting point for creative exploration. Hours of fun!

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To use the app and make a phonics connection students drag with the finger from one of the items on the left to the matching item on the right.  The app also works with Apple Pencil.  After each correct answer an animated gold star appears on the screen. Every time an activity is completed a trophy is displayed.  The scoreboard keeps a record of how many correct answers were given within each topic.

This app can be used on iPads, iPhones and Apple TV.

Phonics Connections is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. This app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Math Connections Set 1 and 2

Math Connections Set 1 and 2

When I was teaching math it seemed like you could never have enough worksheets for kids to do.  To me it was very helpful to have practice problems that were fun for the kids to complete.  Math worksheets that combined solving math problems with getting the punchline of a corny joke or riddle were always a hit with my students.

In Math Connections Set 1 I created an app that provides an endless supply of math practice sheets.  The app is designed to look like a spiral ring notebook sitting on a table.

Problems numbered from 1 to 10 are presented on the left and answers are shown on the right.  Each answer is associated with a letter.  At the bottom of the page there is a riddle or joke.  The punchline is hidden by numbers but as the student solves the math problems, the punchline is revealed.

Math Connections Set 1 is designed for elementary age students.  The types of problems generated by the app are in these categories:

• Addition of Positive Integers (0-12)
• Addition of Positive Integers (10-100)
• Subtraction of Positive Integers (10-100)
• Multiplication Facts (0-12)
• Powers of Two
• Square Root
There are over 100 jokes or riddles in Math Connections Set 1
In Math Connections Set 2 a different set of jokes and riddles are used.  Set 2 has problems that are appropriate for Middle School and High School level students.  In both Set 1 or Set 2 the level can be selected by tapping an icon on the scoreboard. In Set 2 the problems are in these categories:

• Variables and Expressions
• Variable Expressions with Powers
• Operations with Integers (+/-)
• Simplifying Expressions
• Powers of Two with Variables
• Square Root with Variables

Math Connections Set 1 and Set 2 are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. These apps can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Critical Thinking Activities

The development of problem solving skills and critical thinking abilities is currently a high priority in K-12 schools.  Curriculum development experts and experienced teachers who lead inservice programs recognize the need for emphasizing these important areas of learning. Helping students learn how to think and how to learn is perhaps the most important skills that 21st century educators can and do embrace.

Unfortunately in many cases critical thinking activities are overlooked or considered to be something extra to do — something beyond the basics, but many teachers realize that critical thinking skills are basic.  Critical thinking skills are actually a ‘critical’ component of a sound curriculum.

The Critical Thinking Skills app provides 10 different activities that challenge students to use, develop and improve their problem solving and critical thinking abilities.

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In the app a column of buttons on the left side of the screen launch the corresponding activity.  Shown above is a sample screen from the Hundreds Chart Patterns activity.  The set of activities include the following:

1. Hundreds Chart Patterns
2. What’s the Rule?
3. Find a Match
4. Cube Patterns
5. Dot Designs
6. Isometric Designs
7. Design Patterns
8. Reflections
9. Sum Patterns
10. Number Line

Pioneers in Math and Science

New apps for iOS and tvOS Devices:

Aristotle • Ancient Greek Philosopher
Rachel Carson – Environmental Scientists
Bonaventura Cavalieri • Mathematician
Nicolaus Copernicus • Astronomer
Marie Curie – Chemist & Physicist
Charles Darwin  • The Science of Evolution
René Descartes • Philosopher • Mathematician
Albert Einstein • Theoretical Physicist
Euclid • The Father of Geometry
Leonhard Euler • Mathematician
Michael Faraday • Chemist & Physicist
Fibonacci • Mathematician
Leonardo Fibonacci • Mathematician
Galileo Galilei • The Father of Modern Science
Carl Gauss • Physicist • Mathematician • Astronomer
Johannes Kepler • Astronomer & Mathematician
Sofia Kovalevskaya • Mathematician
Ada Lovelace • The First Coder
James Maxwell – Physicist • Mathematician
Lise Meitner – Nuclear Physicist
Gregor Mendel • Botanist
Isaac Newton – Mathematician • Physicist • Astronomer
Blaise Pascal – Mathematician • Scientist • Philosopher
Louis Pasteur – • Microbiologist • Chemist
Cecilia Payne – Stellar Astronomer • Astrophysicist
Pythagoras • Mathematician & Philosopher
Ernest Rutherford • Nuclear Physicist

It is reported that Newton once said , “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of Giants”.  The Pioneers in Math and Science series of apps for iOS and tvOS devices explores the lives and contributions of several giants in astronomy, physics, philosophy, biology and mathematics who lived before and after Newton.

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In Galileo Galilei • The Father of Modern Science, a timeline feature is used to introduce students to the fascinating life of Galileo.  It discusses his early education and explains that as a young man Galileo’s father moves the family to Florence which at the time was a major center for artistic, literary and scientific studies.

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The timeline feature is interactive and students can request more information about any of the highlighted years but tapping the year.  The arrows at either end of the time allow students to scroll through the time period.

Illustrated information screens pop up to help students learn about Galileo’s accomplishments.  Students will find it inspirational that many of the things that fascinated Galileo as a young man became a major focus of his studies and lead to mathematical and scientific breakthroughs for him later in his life.

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In Isaac Newton – Mathematician • Physicist • Astronomer, students explore the many Newton’s achievements including those related to the nature of white light.  Newton discovered that sunlight was actually made up of many different colors.  He should this by holding up a prism near a window in his laboratory and projecting a spectrum of colors.

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René Descartes • Philosopher • Mathematician presents the work of the man who linked algebra and geometry and laid the foundation for modern mathematics.

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Descartes work in philosophy formed the basis for the modern scientific method.  He wrote about his skepticism regarding what he could experience through his senses and encourage people to seek knowledge through reason, mathematics and science.

In Charles Darwin • The Science of Evolution a map of the world is used to show the voyage of exploration of the HMS Beagle.  This five year journey around the world gave Darwin the information he needed to develop his Theory of Evolution.Screen2.png

Each of the apps in this series feature a quiz so that student can demonstrate comprehension of the reading material and other special features such as a speech where the text from the diagrams, quizzes or scrolls can be read aloud to students.

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Galileo Galilei • The Father of Modern ScienceIsaac Newton – Mathematician • Physicist • AstronomerRené Descartes • Philosopher • Mathematician and Charles Darwin  • The Science of Evolution and other  apps in this series are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. These apps can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Math Decoder

Most people who are involved in education and have studied educational psychology know the name, Jean Piaget.  Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, defined and described stages of development: sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational.  Many math curriculum materials are designed to fit with these developmental stages that roughly correspond to age groups:  sensorimotor (0-2), pre-operation stage (2 to 7), concrete operational (7 to 11), and formal operational (11+ and adulthood).  The availability of computers and educational software may have shifted some of these age groupings toward the younger ages since very young children are often using iPads and other devices to explore and learn concepts with assistance of highly interactive educational games and experiences.  Apps can be very engaging and often create multimedia learning environments that motivate students through positive reinforcements such as praise, points, stars, trophies or virtual stickers.

The manipulative approach to teaching math is based on the cognitive development theories of Piaget, Bruner and others.  Software designed to support these theories, for example my Hands-On Math Series, brings the manipulative approach to the computer screen by creating interactive representations of mathematical objects.  Math Decoder is designed in a similar way so that the student is able to move numbered tokens into place to show his or her answer.

Math Decoder presents random numbers in a grid that is similar to the familiar tic-tac-toe board.  Problems are given using shapes that reference the position of the numbers in the grid.  To give an answer students must determine which numbers are referenced by the shapes and then perform the arithmetic operation.

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Using Math Decoder helps build mental math skills.  It involves abstract thinking because the symbols are used to represent numbers in way that is similar to how variables are used in algebra.  I designed Math Decoder to be a quick exercise that teachers and parents can assign to students when they have a few minutes of time.  Challenge students to earn a trophy.  It’s fun!

Math Decoder is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Algebra Portal AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Algebra Portal AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Algebra Portal AR

Algebra Portal AR

Apple’s new ARKit has opened the door to new kinds of app experiences.  My new app, Algebra Portal AR, creates virtual rooms filled with information about important terms and key concepts related to the Algebra I curriculum.  What is really exciting about the Algebra Portal is students stand up, walk around and experience a totally immersive environment that is filled with illustrated examples that are used to explain some of the fundamental ideas of algebra.

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The floor Algebra Portal is a standard Cartesian plane with the x and y axes labelled.  Teachers could develop lesson experiences that involve students walking into the portal and then moving to a specific (xy) position to learn about a particular topic from the algebra curriculum.

When a wall inside the Algebra Portal is tapped a menu of terms is displayed.  If a term is selected detailed information about the topic is displayed with examples.algebra_portal_4

Students and teachers will be amazed when they create virtual rooms filled with information about key terms and concepts from the middle school and high school algebra curriculum.

Explore algebra in a new way with the Algebra Portal AR. Use the camera view on your iPad to detect a flat surface and then tap the screen. Instantly a portal opens to a world filled with information about the terms and concepts that are part of the algebra curriculum.

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In an nutshell, to use the app, students walk around in the augmented reality algebra portal where they can tap on the walls and other objects in the rooms to get more information and to hear Siri read aloud information about the selected item. Students can scroll through an extensive list of terms related to the information on the walls of the rooms, walls and objects in the portal.

Algebra Portal AR creates virtual rooms that are approximately 4 meters by 7 meters. It is best used in a well-lit open space, perhaps in a school’s auditorium or multi-purpose room. If the Algebra Portal sounds interesting to you, you might also like the Geometry Portal AR.

Algebra Portal AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Algebra Portal AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Algebra Portal AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.