A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about fractions, equivalency, and comparing decimals and percentages with Virtual Manipulatives. The color-coded barsor pie shapes snap together, and when clicked, an equivalent will appear in a bubble to support learning of equivalencies. In each of the three categories (percents, fractions, and decimals), colors are the same. For example, 1/5 is the same green color as .2 or 20 percent. With an adult's guidance, kids can use Virtual Manipulatives to help build their understanding of some challenging math concepts.
Ease of Play
Virtual Manipulatives has simple instructions on the opening screen, but kids will need guidance to learn how to use the tools. Once they understand, it's easy to move the tools around -- just touch them and drag them wherever you want.
Products & Purchases
A small "more apps" button, when tapped, asks if you want to visit the ABCya.com apps in iTunes. Choosing "yes" will take you out of the app and into the App Store.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids -- especially those unfamiliar with fraction bars -- will need an adult's help to get started with Virtual Manipulatives. The app is simply the use of manipulatives to help kids visually understand the relationships among percentages, fractions, and decimals. Used with support, this visually engaging math app can help kids grasp a concept that can be difficult for many children.
Is It Any Good?
VIRTUAL MANIPULATIVES is a solid math app with a focused purpose: to help learners visually understand the relationships among percentages, fractions, and decimals. Kids who use fraction bars/tiles at school will probably know what to do with the app and may find it to be a great homework helper. Otherwise, you'll need to explain the how and why for using this tool before kids will get much out of it. This is where the app falls short: It doesn't offer any guidance to parents on how to use the app with their kids.
But if you're able to meet that challenge, Virtual Manipulatives can make a tough concept a bit more easy to understand for kids with a variety of learning styles, with visual representations that kids can use their hands to manipulate. It's colorful, well designed, and free, making it a good addition to your math apps collection.
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