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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mathway is an app as well as a website that lets users plug in math equations and tap "Evaluate" to find solutions. The free version only gives the answers, but a subscription will give step-by-step solutions to problems in a wide variety of math types, including basic math, prealgebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Be aware that kids do use Mathway to cheat, but if they need to show answers, they'll have to pay. With some guidance, teens can use it as a learning tool instead of a shortcut.
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What's it about?
MATHWAY lets users plug in math equations and instantly see their solutions; with a paid subscription, they also get step-by-step instructions on how to arrive at that solution. Once you pick a subject -- trigonometry, prealgebra, chemistry -- a menu displays useful related symbols and operations (such as an integral symbol for algebra), and users can tap or select those tools to set up their equations. After setting up a problem, users then tap "Evaluate" to see the answer, and they can tap the folder icon to add this problem to their Saved Problems list. Users also can display a graph and graph functions on-screen, create a custom practice worksheet based on a particular math topic from an extensive drop-down menu, and view an extensive glossary.
Is it any good?
Even though it's a great tool for teens looking for a shortcut, this app has supportive features for guided practice that make it a worthy, flexible companion for math students across grade levels, especially with a subscription. Creating custom worksheets is one way to practice before a test, and the glossary is great because kids can browse alphabetically or by topic, and individual entries show up as highlighted, clickable text in the explanations of different problems. The graphing feature also is especially good in that it's a simple, user-friendly way to neatly, precisely graph equations or illustrate geometric figures. The subscription is pricey for sure, and there will definitely be kids who will only use it to copy down solutions, so look for stark differences between homework and test performance as a possible indication of misuse; however, if used properly, the various features could help struggling kids or those who want to explore math beyond the classroom.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how they might use the custom worksheet-creation feature before a quiz or test to review. Talk more broadly about how a tool like this is a good way to check your work rather than skip it.
Set up a problem on Mathway, have your kid work out the problem with pencil and paper, have her explain each step she used to solve the problem, and then use Mathway to check the work. If you have the paid subscription, talk through the step-by-step solution and see how it matches up with your kid's own work.
Have your teen create his or her own glossary of terms from the built-in glossary. What words are important to understand for his or her current math class? How are those terms related?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Math: algebra, arithmetic, calculus, statistics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: defining problems, problem solving, thinking critically
Self-Direction: academic development, initiative, self-assessment, work to achieve goals
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try (subscription options for more features $9.99-$149.99)
- Release date: February 5, 2015
- Category: Education
- Size: 103.60 MB
- Publisher: Mathway LLC
- Version: 3.2.7
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later.
For kids who love math
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.