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Is there a maths app I can use where I can put in the questions?

(19 Posts)
Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 10:24:05

Dd3 seems to be struggling with maths and is beginning to hate the pressure of me asking her to do her mental maths every evening and her refusing and the ensuing row we have. We have used Squeebles for spelling tests which was brilliant as I could put in that weeks spelling tests and she could do it on an ipad. As it was on the ipad she was happy to get on with it and liked the rewards etc the app gave out. I have looked for Squeebles maths but it seems they set the questions and I need to be able to do that.
She is in Year 2 and needs to answer questions such as 12-8. I just need to be able to put in that week's work. Does anyone know if such a thing exists??! I'd be sooooo grateful!
Many thanks.

Katemz Thu 06-Nov-14 11:32:15

It sounds like a pencil and paper is what you need! Or a basic notepad app. We use Komodo maths which is great and we tried a few others. They all seem to provide the questions what I like about Komodo you can assign your own levels too.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 16:57:56

I need something that makes the maths a bit fun!!
We have obviously just tried sitting and repeatedly writing that week's work out, or we have tried her going in her room and looking at it for 30 minutes and then me testing or we have tried using blocks and doing it that way. The problem seems to be that she just hates doing it!! So if I can find a way to put it on a tablet or iphone, as I did with her spellings, she seems to think it's fun. She always did her spellings using Squeebles where before we did the old pen and paper and had to battle to get her to do it. I need something that I can input this week's mental maths questions, ie
I don't want something that just decides what to do, ie randomly 6+5=11 as that won't be what she's asked that week and will be too much for her poor brain to cope with along with the other 10 questions she needs to know and answer within 5 seconds.
She's 6! I need to make this more fun or else she's just going to give up.
Sorry, I don't want to sound rude, I'm just hoping there's another, more fun way, that I can help her with this as at the moment as soon as I mention looking at her maths she falls apart and cries and says she doesn't want to do it.

honeysucklejasmine Thu 06-Nov-14 17:02:44

Has she tried Mathletics? I've never used it with kids as young as your dad but it seems that it can be. The KS3 kids love it. Loads of games etc. Not sure on its programmes ability... You might need to explore a bit.

Floralnomad Thu 06-Nov-14 17:04:01

I might have missed the point but how is it mental maths if they have given them the questions and answers to learn parrot fashion ? My DC are older is this what they do in schools now ?

honeysucklejasmine Thu 06-Nov-14 17:04:55

And I know MyMaths is also used for customisable homework. Is it worth asking your DDs school if they have online access to things like this? Setting homework online is all the rage at the moment.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 17:09:32

Thank you honeysuckle, but, again, they decide what your child will learn that week. I have done Kumon with 2 children for 2 year's each and I understand that 'extra' maths is a huge help but at this stage I just want to concentrate on the maths she is given each week and try and get this to be more fun. There's no way at this stage that she will do extra maths, I'm finding it impossible to get her to do the maths she is assigned!
Maybe I'm asking too much, it just may not exist!!!

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 17:13:07

Yes Flora, they are given it the week before and have all week to learn it and then are tested on a Friday. It is quite hard (I think) questions for a 6 year old to answer in 5 seconds, eg 18-9. At this age they want to use their fingers or number lines but they don't have time to do that. They just have to learn it parrot fashion and be able to write the answer down pretty quickly.
I know a lot of the other mums (and teacher!) are struggling, year 2 now seems to include quite a lot that was in year 3 last year so the pressure is ridiculous.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 17:14:17

Honey, I will look at MyMaths, customisable is the key word I am looking for, fab!! Thank you.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 18:13:44

MyMaths seems to only be for schools, I will ask tomorrow to see if our school is a member.
Just bumping incase anyone else knows of an appropriate app??

titchy Thu 06-Nov-14 18:19:32

That's not being taught maths FFS. You can't claim she can do mental arithmetic even if she does parrot these sums out.

Forget finding a way to make it fun. Ask the teacher what she is trying to achieve by making them parrot sums. Dd needs to understand what the sum means, then how to work it out (number line for example), and then to be able to do it at her own pace so the teacher knows she understands.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 20:26:59

Totally agree Titchy but it's what everyone in her class is doing so I have to do it too. I have said to the teacher that although she may get 8 out of 10 one week, if I asked her the following week she'd be lucky to get 3. I would understand if it was times tables, they have to be learnt like this but random sums just seems madness. It's parents' evening next week, I may have to bring it up. I love her teacher (had her before) but this is sending us over the edge and I know it is bothering a number of other mums too.

Ellle Thu 06-Nov-14 20:42:04

That sounds like something I read about once here in Mumsnet called Big Maths. They don't use it at my son's school as far as I know.

They are not random sums, they are teaching about family numbers that go together: e.g. two 9s make 18, and if you take one of the 9s away you only have the other 9 left. And if you put them together again: 18.

Same thing with the 9, 3 and 12.

I think I remember seeing some triangles where you put the family numbers on each vertice and you know they all go together and interrelate.

My advice is check first that she understands the sums first. Ask her if she knows why the 9+9 is 18 and 18-9=9. If she doesn't see the connection use raisings. Once she sees why and it clicks, no need to memorise them parrot fashion. She'll just know. Every time those two numbers are together they make this one, etc.

It's the same as learning time tables. Once you know the facts for multiplication (e.g. 3x4=12), you know the inverse which is division (12 divided by 4=3).

If you google Big Math you might find more info about it.

Janus Thu 06-Nov-14 21:24:13

Thanks Ellie, I will do. However, this is the first week where I have seen that pattern. Last week (for example) it was completely random, like 4+7, 5+8, 7+6, etc. She found last week much harder as, like you say, at least this week, 3+8=11, 11-8=3, there's a connection. BUT, they are not given the sums together, ie following eachother, and have 5 seconds to answer each question so there is no way they can give any thought to patterns, etc, they just need to know it like lightening.
I sound defeated already don't I?!!

Ferguson Thu 06-Nov-14 22:30:49

I was a primary TA / helper for over twenty years, and this is my standard numeracy advice:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths work, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other

etc, etc

then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

I am sorry it seems complicated trying to explain these concepts, but using Lego or counters should make understanding easier.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


website has a lot of suitable games; I particularly like Save the Whale, (number bonds of ten, drag the appropriate 'pipe' to rescue the whale)

erin99 Thu 06-Nov-14 23:47:24

It's not an app, but a whiteboard and coloured pens are a big improvement on pen and paper.

Ellle Fri 07-Nov-14 00:17:03

I see. Poor her. 5 seconds is not a lot of time. You are right, knowing the pattern is not enough to give her speed. Speed will come with practise using things like the apps and games you are trying to get.

Does she know her 10 bonds and 20 bonds well enough?
Sometimes when I practise mental math with my son, we see that 4+7 is rather like a 1+3+7. Then you put the 3+7 together as a 10, and you are just adding 1. Or 5+8 would be 3+2+8, then just add 3 to 10.
All this number combinations can be done quickly in the mind and with practise eventually she'll get the speed.

We use Squeebles a lot. My son really likes them, but like you said, you cannot select the questions. I don't have the Addition app, but the one for Times tables has levels, and the easy level in Additions might just have the tipe of sums you are after.

Also the Bingo Squeebles is really good and you can choose addition or
subtraction and the level for it. You need to think of the result and then look for it quickly on the Bingo board. If she finds these more fun I would give them a go if you don't find anything else suitable, and if she can do the Squeeble ones, then the sums from school should be covered as well and easier.

Alternatively you could make yout own Bingo boards with the sums you want? Use a board game and adapt it so that every time she lands on a space she answers a question from you cards? Or Snakes&Ladders with 2 dice and she needs to add them everytime she moves on.
You could also get a dice with the "plus" and "minus" signs and use them with two dice in games.
Sum swamp has one dice like these, and it's really good board game for practising number bonds up to 12.

Janus Fri 07-Nov-14 11:04:22

Thanks so much for the replies, if I knew anything about apps I'd ruddy invent it myself!!
But, I think you are all right. I may need to just get a more exciting whiteboard and pens and start there.
Yes Ellie, she knows number bonds really well, 1 second for the answer and I have tried explaining it the way you say, 5=6 = number bond 5 and 5 plus the extra 1 but that seems to confuse things!!
I think I will get her the squeebles adding app and then the subtraction app (if they do it) as actually just practising it, whether it's her questions that week or not, will help her to just mentally speed up both.
And Ferguson, you are right, I think she may be more visual as one question this week is 9-5 so I got her to hold up all fingers and then showed her if she just took one hand away (with all 5 fingers up!) she had the answer and she got that much quicker then. I will get more visual, good idea. Thanks. I'm seeing the positive side now that at least she knows number bonds like the back of her hand and doesn't even have to think about them.
I think it's just a tough year, even the teachers said that at the beginning of the year as stupid Michael Gove added even more to the syllabus. What a pratt he is!!

Ferguson Fri 07-Nov-14 18:50:26

At least he has gone now!

There probably are apps or programs out there, if one could find them. Our DS was programming by the time he was ten, and after a year or two wrote a program he called 'Number Cruncher', and the Head of the school I worked in paid him £5 for it. But that was twenty years ago, on Acorn RiscOS computers, not PC.

If you could 'design' the program you really want, including screen layouts, menus, range of numbers, features, error messages etc, with a bit of effort you MIGHT find a secondary school 'computer whiz' who could code it for you!

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