This post comes from Mashable www.mashable.com.
Rebecca Zook is an online female math tutor who has been helping students get math into their brains for seven years. She blogs about learning at Triangle Suitcase.
We’ve sorted the contenders from the pretenders and found five genuinely fun ways to help your kids learn math this summer. These unique technologies go way beyond the world of flashcards, and use surprising tools including rap music, adaptive technology, psychological research and wailing guitar solos.
They’re fun. They’re easy to use. And they aren’t lame.
Multiplication Hip-Hop for Kids
Have you ever wished your kids could learn their times tables by rapping? Well, the wait is over. A remix compilation like no other, Multiplication Hip-Hop for Kids sets the multiplication tables to popular hip-hop songs. Each track starts with an inspiring intro (e.g., five seconds in the style of Mystikal: “Too fly to slip and slide, because we don’t cry, we multiply”) before launching into a times tables rap.
Unlike any other math learning tool, Multiplication Hip-Hop for Kids includes not just one, but two rap versions for most of the times tables, so your kids can learn their 11s either in the style of Lil’ Wayne, or set to 2 Pac’s “How Do You Want It.”
And though many times tables learning tools stop at the 10s, Multiplication Hip-Hop for Kids goes all the way up to the 12s, which means your kid will be more prepared for multiplying dozens than you ever dreamed possible.
With syncopated rhythms and high production values, you and your kids will feel proud to blast these tracks this summer while cruising around in your spinners.
Price: You can download the complete MP3 collection for $24.95, which includes the study guide and 13 bonus multiplication video games. Or, download the MP3 albums individually from Amazon for $8.99 each.
Rockin’ the Standards
If your kid is more of a rocker than a rapper, try Rockin’ the Standards, the educational rock sing-a-longs created by veteran elementary school teacher Tim Bedley.
This ruthlessly kid-tested, surprisingly listenable MP3 album includes skip counting songs for the 3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s, as well as succinct, memorable songs about math concepts like angles, perimeter, place value, and area.
Most of the tracks are set to familiar tunes, so your kid can skip count their 9s to a hard-hitting version of the “Hokey Pokey” or their 6s to a highly-electrified version of “Row Row Your Boat,” interspersed with air guitar-worthy solos.
Ages: 2nd through 6th grade.
Price: You can download the entire album for $2.99 from digstation. It’s also available from Amazon for $8.99 or iTunes for $9.99. Download the lyrics for free here.
In this online program, kids choose from among 500+ math games while exploring a virtual adventure park full of pixies, pets, dinosaurs, and yes, pirates.
Even though it looks like it’s “just a game,” DreamBox learning works as a stand-alone math curriculum, unlike most math computer programs. Many of the games use colorful visuals to illustrate the concepts behind them, or let kids use on-screen manipulatives to build the problems.
DreamBox’s adaptive technology also sets it apart. Based on your kid’s answers, DreamBox adjusts the difficulty, number, and type of problems, as well as feedback, pacing, and hints to individualize the learning experience.
Ages: K-3 (4th and 5th grades in development).
Price: $12.95 monthly for one kid, $19.95 monthly per family.
KidCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun
Do you wish you could give your kids a talking calculator that animates whatever mathematical operations they enter into it? Or flash cards that, when you flip them over, use animation to illustrate the math problems on the other side? Were you hoping to spend only 99 cents? Look no further than KidCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun.
This iPhone and iPad app for kids ages 2 through 10 uses animated lessons, flash cards, and puzzle games to teach number recognition, number tracing, counting, and sorting, as well as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Your kid can choose between six themes including sports, springtime, outer space and birthday (with candles and cupcakes).
Unique one-touch age-based settings let you configure the appropriate skill level. Not to mention, it’s currently the only math app that lays out long division problems the way they’re taught in school. No wonder it’s been on the top 100 list of iPhone apps for eight consecutive months!
While there are many computer games in the world, Brainology is the only one that’s been developed by leading motivation psychologists Carol Dweck and Lisa Sorich Blackwell. This interactive online program boosts kids’ math scores by dealing with their underlying mindsets about intelligence.
In the program, two cartoon characters, Chris and Dahlia, receive brain challenges from a floating, talking brain orb. Then, with the help of cartoon neuroscientist Dr. Cerebrus and his brain laboratory, they discover how the brain works.
At key points, the animation sequences pause and your kid gets a chance to conduct interactive “experiments,” reflect on what they’re learning in their e-journals, and play games that reinforce what they’re learning about the brain. At the end of the four-level program, kids attain the status of “Brain Master.”
It’s not specifically about math, but Brainology teaches kids basic neuroscience to help them learn what may be the ultimate lesson: We’re not limited by what we already know, because we can grow our intelligence!
Ages: Middle and high school.
Price: $99 per student for home use. Sibling and bulk discounts available.
Know of any other educational websites, apps, or downloads that are great for learning math? Share them in the comments below!