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Montreal Families

Local teacher develops math apps

With so many intricate rules and theories, it’s no secret that math can be one of the trickiest subjects for some high school students. That’s why a teacher at Trafalgar School for Girls has developed four new iPad applications that help with different mathematical topics.

With these apps, students are asked to solve equations covering topics like trigonometry and exponents. For example, on the Transfö app, students can familiarize themselves with transformational geometry by plotting points, rotating triangles and writing coordinates. The Pythagö app asks you to solve questions using the Pythagorean theorem, while Trig! allows students to better understand the laws of trigonometry. With the Expönents app, kids learn how to multiply and divide powers and also how to work with exponents.

“The goal is to get down to problem solving as quickly as possible,” said the apps’ developer Greg Scruton, who has  been teaching math at Trafalgar for more than 20 years.  He says he couldn’t find any programs that provided his students with instant corrections and explanations if they completed a question incorrectly. Being a computer science teacher as well, he began reworking his current curriculum last summer to develop these iPad apps that would provide instant, step-by-step feedback. All the results are then submitted to a master database where Scruton can review their work and progress. Students use the apps as part of many in-class lessons, but can also practice problem solving on their iPads at home.

Each level also includes tutorial videos. Unlike many apps, students can work on problems even though they are not connected to the Internet since the information is recorded and saved to the database once they go back online.

For now, all four apps are free and are currently available for iPads on the App Store, but Scruton hopes to develop them for all Mac devices in the near future.

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