Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mathpapa app

 I love checking out the math apps section of the iTunes store on a regular basis because new apps are hitting the market on a regular basis.  I've found lots of calculators and equation solvers for various levels of math but none I was really interested in.

  The other day I was looking through various apps and came across Math Papa.  Mathpapa is specifically designed for solving algebraic equations but it is quite different from most calculators and equation solvers that I've found.  Most calculators just give the answer. Even my favorite one, My Script Calculator, provides the answer if you put the problem in so it can but it does not explain how to get the answer.

Mathpapa is different from most calculators in that it explains step by step how to answer the problem.  I really like that because it reinforces the process with the students.  If they get stuck, they see what they have to do next rather than finding the answer without knowing the process. 

I put in 2x + 3 = 23 to test the app.  I've typed out the answer so you can read it better.

Let's solve your equation step-by-step.
2x + 3 = 23
Step 1: Subtract 3 from both sides.
2x  + 3 - 3 = 23 -3
 2x = 20
Step 2: Divide both sides by 2
2x/2 = 20/2
x = 10
Answer x = 10.

I tried a few different types of problems to see if they work.
1.  Equations with variables on the same side.
2. Equations with a square root such as sqrt(2x+6) = 8
3. Factoring quadratics such as x^2 + 4x + 4.  It does not factor quadratics with complex roots.
4.  Factors perfect cubes such as x^3 -1
 5.  It solves systems of equations such as 4x + 3y = 2 and 4x + 3y = 12. In addition, it allows students to choose to see the graph.
6.  It will change a two variable inequality into slope intercept form and provide the graph to accompany it.
7.  It even provides a graphic solution for systems of inequalities.
8.  I tried a circle and it provides the x = sqrt answer but does not graph it.

There is a pro version for $1.99 but honestly, the free version does just about everything I need it to do and I want to put this on my classroom set over the holidays.  I don't mind students using this type of calculator because of the explanations involved.