All posts by Mary Oemig

Do You Have a Math Facts Avoider?

Some kids memorize math facts with ease. Others are skilled avoiders of the task. Our son finds a million things to do, ask, comment on, or look at when asked to work on math facts. The math facts are not one of them.

Our game Mathtopia+ engages his attention until things get hard. Then his avoidance strategies kick in. For the avoider, Mathtopia+ and Mathtopia are best used when math facts mastery is in the phase where facts are getting easier for the learner and to maintain facts already mastered. His avoidance behaviors arise out of a fine motor delay and visual-motor integration challenges. By contrast our high persistence daughter happily plays levels of Mathtopia+ without being discouraged when it gets harder.

For the math facts avoider using a variety of engaging and novel presentations help keep attention engaged. Mathtopia+ and Mathmateer on the iPad engage his attention. Games such as Sleeping Queens, Zeus on the Loose, and even Snap It Up!, available for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, provide fun and entertaining breaks from traditional methods of memorizing math facts. Combining these games with a reference math table provides the early learner with an opportunity to participate.

For the child who avoids math facts because of fine motor issues, completing math facts tables may be a surprise winner. Filling in tables has been an excellent tool for increasing handwriting speed and reducing memorization anxiety. Students can now visualize the relationships of the facts to each other, allowing him to start incorporating reasoning when presented with a problem he finds challenging, such as recognizing the relationship of near doubles to doubles.

Today’s tip from Marna over at Kirkland Mastery Math, make the table 2 to 13 rather than 0 to 10. For us we started with 0 to 10 to build handwriting fluency. As his handwriting speed improves, we’ll drop 0 and 1 and add higher numbers at the outer edges, gently but steadily increasing his handwriting speed and math mastery.

Happy learning,

Mary Oemig

Fractions+ is a Top Pick Math App

Fun Educational Apps calls Fractions+ an oustanding math app. “Kids and adults alike will be addicted to the fast game play as they build their fraction skills.”

In her review, Sarah Emerling, The iLesson Lady, loved the  mini-lessons, the gradually increasing difficulty, and the self-checking features. She also liked how the apps shows different representations of fractions: “It represents them pictorially as parts of a whole, as numerals, as decimals, even as inches and centimeters on a ruler.  This app really shows students how fractions are found in a number of formats.”

And our favorite part: “Plus, it’s downright addicting.  I had to force myself to put the app down to write this review!”
Read more: Fractions+ : An Outstanding Math Apps for Kids and Adults! – Fun Educational Apps for Kids: Reviews, Daily Deals and Giveaways 

Fractions for Everyone

Thank you over at for your review of Fractions+. Our favorites quotes:

“Who would have thought fractions would be this fun? I played this game for over half an hour on two occasions!”

“While fractions themselves can be a challenge to learn as a young student, this app is guaranteed to make the learning process more fun and a little more interesting.”

“This app is not just for students: It is great for adults to review what they learned in math class those many years ago. Highly recommended for everyone!”

Fractions+ is in the App Store

Fractions App

Our latest app, Fractions+ is available in the iTunes store. Get those pesky third grade (aka everyday) fractions down pat.  Sos iPhone says it is fun for kids and adults, even if you detest fractions:

Présenté comme un jeu pour enfant, les niveaux sont rapidement des casses tête d’une difficulté qui donnera du fil à retordre aux adultes.

Si la définition du dictionnaire ne vous inspire pas, c’est une très bonne application pour s’amuser et comprendre les fractions. Nous la recommandons à ceux qui détestent les fractions!

How’s your French?

Localizing Mathtopia

Translating Mathtopia to foreign languages has been fun and interesting.

I’ve learned  new words that I will probably never forget. One of my favorites, ironically, is “Anleitung”. Ironic because the word means “instructions” which I notoriously disregard in favor of trying my own thing.

The Germans may laugh at my pronunciation of “Anleitung”, but to me it sounds so sweet as it rolls off the tongue.

On a related note, if I forget a semicolon at the end of a translation, the compiler (Xcode) gives this completely “foreign” error message: “The data couldn’t be read because it has been corrupted.”

A super scary error message the first time you see it, but it “translates to”, “You forgot a semicolon at the end of a line somewhere. Happy hunting.”