Math Apps – Concrete, Representational & Abstract

Math Apps – Concrete, Representational & Abstract

This past Tuesday I had the privilege of presenting at my local Education Service Center’s annual TCEA sponsored technology event “Unwired Unleashed”. It was a great conference, and thanks so much to all who worked so hard to put it together!

One of the sessions I presented focused on math apps for iPads in the elementary classroom. While my main focus and goals for iPads in the classroom is creativity and creation, there is a place for some games, especially some of the great math apps that are out there! However, as educators we need to be mindful of our students developmental needs.

During my session I shared some excellent virtual manipulative apps for the classroom – see the ThingLink below – as well as some of my favorite games.

As I shared the game apps, we discussed where each app would lie on Van de Walle’s sequence of concrete, representational and abstract thinking in math. It is vital that we, as math teachers for young students, keep this theory in mind when creating instruction, especially when handing students an iPad game.

Take a great math app like Chicken Bounce (highlighted in the Smore flyer below) which lets students practice math facts in a fun format. Great game! However, you’ll want to think about handing it to a student who is in an earlier stage of learning – still working with manipulatives or drawings to understand facts. This game falls in the abstract stage of Van deWalle’s sequence.

Check out the smore flyer below for more resources on manipulatives, games and an excellent elementary math blog to read!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

3 Responses to Math Apps – Concrete, Representational & Abstract

  1. By linking learning experiences from concrete-to-representational-to-abstract levels of understanding, the teacher provides a graduated framework for students to make meaningful connections.