Archive | Guest Post

5 Fun Android Apps for Teaching Math

Tablets and smartphones are all over the place in our communities. With this popularity comes a great deal of apps to assist in daily living from games to shopping lists and encyclopedias. There are many apps that deal with education in various forms and several of them are entertaining to the point of not “feeling” like a learning device. All subjects can be found in these collections of apps including math.

Magic Math

1. Talking Kids Math and Numbers – In this app, a moving 3D graphic penguin reads out yes or no questions which a child answers with a green check mark for yes or a red “X” for no. Regardless if the question is answered correctly, the penguin’s animations after each are amusing to children of the younger age group. A TV mode will explain equations to the child, although it may seem fast paced for younger audiences to learn. The bottom line is that children learning basic math skills will find the animations of this penguin to be enjoyable to watch.

2. Dragon Math – This simple app of a dragon eating various food products provides the child with three answers for each question. The goal is to answer 10 questions correctly before moving on to the next level and food product. If the answer is correct, the dragon eats. If the answer is incorrect, the dragon spits fire and removes a correctly answered question. There are several options in the paid app version to control what questions will be used during the session.

3. Math Practice Boards – Not only is the student able to answer the questions out of a multiple choice, but this app allows users to work out a problem using the touch interface to allow writing to show the work. Each time a line or number is drawn with the finger, it becomes a random color on the screen. Options for pen styles and question levels provide additional functionality for this basic app. Students can work the problem with their fingers before pressing the button for the correct answer.

4. Math Magic – This addictive game can be fun for those of all ages. It’s a simple game where you are presented with various balls with numbers in them and a requested total. The objective is to add the balls to make the total of the request number. Although the tutorial could have been more elaborate and more descriptive, the game has the ability to suck you in. If you answer a request incorrectly, the game is over and you start from the beginning. The graphics are good and the musical score is par for the app.

5. Jumpin’ Math Jam – It’s a race against a turtle as each correct mathematical answer propels your frog further down the track. Jumpin’ Math Jam is a new take on using flashcards to help a student hone his or her mathematical skills. All four major equations are present as well as a random mode in order to increase the difficulty.

Regardless of the student’s age group, there is an app available that can help them achieve a higher understanding of the subject. Whether they are games that incorporate math into the decisions of a character or an outright computational application, there is a variety of fun methods you can utilize to reinforce a student’s knowledge of math. Use the technology that is available and secure a child’s confidence with learning.

This is a guest post by Rachel Thomas. Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author@gmail.com.
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4 Interesting and Educational Podcasts for Youngsters

People rarely mention podcasts when they talk about useful educational technologies. Articles about useful smartphone apps for students abound, but there are far fewer shout outs to the podcasts that predate most of the trending educational apps. That’s a shame because there are some really great educational podcasts out there for students of all ages.

As proof to the utility of educational podcasts, I’ve listed 4 podcasts below that offer expansive lessons to any students willing to listen. Continue Reading →

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The Mercy Project – Guest Post by Heather Hendrick

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions – organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children.

mercy project1Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old. All of these children are slaves. –Mercy Project

We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root – by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.

mercyproject2Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.

Learn more and get involved by –

Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.

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Tips for Buying a Telescope for Your Homeschool Astronomer

Having spoken at least briefly to about 3,000 homeschool families who have a telescope or want a telescope, the big problem does not seem to be affording one, but making it work right and finding the motivation to use it.

If you have a telescope and are not using it, put it fully ready to use in a convenient place like the porch. I am much more likely to move the scope out front for a quick look at something if it is right there and ready to go than I am if it’s in the basement or attic.

If you have a telescope and can’t get it to work right Google “Star Party” and your city name and take the scope to the gathering. You will be deluged with a 100 geeks like me who can’t wait to fix the issue and be your hero.

Actually finding objects in the sky is another challenge. The easiest way is to download a program like Stellarium for your computer. It could not be easier to use and find what is available in the sky that night. Couple that with an App like Google Sky on your smart phone which will tell you what you are looking at in the sky when you hold your phone up to an object, and you can’t go wrong. Continue Reading →

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