Math Apps Archives • Elephant Learning

Category Archives for "Math Apps"

How a Mom of Five Turned to a Math Game for Kids When School Kept Changing Curriculum
Jul 27

How a Mom of Five Turned to a Math Game for Kids When School Kept Changing Curriculum

By Elephant Learning | Case Study , Math Apps

Once you understand math concepts and the language of mathematics you and your child will be able to cope with the changing methodology and curriculum.

You can also set your child up for lifelong success in mathematics, STEM, and overall problem-solving. 

When Paris realized that her kids were not growing to their full math potential at their French immersion school, she knew she needed something effective and engaging – quick.  

Luckily, on her search to find the most effective math games for kids, Paris found and fell in love with Elephant Learning, which helped her boys yield outstanding results.  

Challenges with Changing Math Curriculums

For many parents, it seems like the approach to mathematical problem-solving and the curriculum is changing almost daily. 

This can make it difficult to know how to help your child, especially if they are struggling or behind in math.

As schools grapple with the implementation of common core and other changes in the way mathematics is taught, children and their parents are often caught in the middle, left confused. 

To make matters worse, schools can implement these changes with little warning for parents, students, or even teachers.  While these quick pivots may be intended to offer the best curriculum for students, children are often puzzled with the adjustment, with their parents entirely unaware of their struggle. 

This rapid implementation is what happened at the school where Paris’ three sons, four-year-old Trevor, five-year-old Garet, and seven-year-old Trent attended. 

“It seems as though the method was different every day,” she said. “It was frustrating because my eldest son was barely grasping the concepts using the previous methods.”

The boys attended an excellent French immersion school that Paris called, “a great school.”

However, teachers there made little effort to tailor instruction to meet each child’s learning style, skill level, and ensure their success. 

While the language experience was immersive, the mathematics instruction was not. 

Trent and Garet struggled to solve any kind of word problem. And the change in instruction methodology proved to be an impossible challenge for the family to keep up with. 

As it was, Trent had math homework three times a week, and younger brother Garet was about to start mathematics instruction in school. 

At the same time, Paris gave birth to twins. Suddenly their busy family of five had ballooned to seven. 

Something had to give. 

“Things were hectic at home and I no longer had the time to sit for long periods to help them with their homework as I should,” Paris explained. 

The Search for Effective Math Games

Paris began to look for games that could help her boys with their math comprehension and stumbled upon Elephant Learning online. 

She hoped the program could step in and give the help that she no longer had the time to provide.   

“I had heard great things about Elephant Learning and wanted both boys to take advantage of the program,” she said. 

But the addition of twins meant that money was also tight.

Determined to not let her children miss out on the opportunity, Paris applied for and received Elephant Learning’s Math Matters scholarship.

Elephant Learning teaches mathematics conceptually. This is very similar to how immersion programs (like the one Garet and Trent attend) teach a second language. 

Through a series of puzzles, the Elephant Learning app provides mathematical exercises that build fluency in the language of mathematics. 

This helps develop a child’s intuition for math, and they gain a more in-depth, true understanding of the concept, which can be applied to math homework and everyday math.

Teaching mathematics is very similar to teaching the concept of colors to a young child. We need to show them the color red for them to start recognizing that, for example, this truck is red or that ball is red.

You can’t teach ‘red.’

Elephant Learning’s math games help demonstrate the meanings of mathematical concepts in the same way that showing a child colored objects, can teach colors.  

An Elephant Learning game might cover addition by asking that the student provide five items, and eventually, four more. 

This allows the parent to connect the particular math subject to the experiences that their children have everyday, via the Elephant Learning app. 

If your child sees five plus four and struggles to answer it, you can ask them to bring you five items. Then four more items. 

Because your child already did this in their Elephant Learning math game, they will be able to connect the written concepts to the experiences they’ve had in these games and real life. 

They now have the tools to understand what the concepts mean through experience and demonstration, instead of language instruction. 

Additionally, Elephant Learning provides a written description for each subject on how it will be taught for your review.

The app also provides a safe space to experiment and play around with mathematical concepts.

This safe space is critical to building a child’s confidence in mathematics.

It’s a game. The exercises have less pressure than a math test or homework. They want to win, and if they fail the first time, they will try again until they master the puzzle and ultimately, the concept, instead of feeling defeated and giving up. 

Children deepen their understanding, and mathematics becomes more accessible and fun.

This approach allows Elephant Learning to guarantee that children will learn one years’ worth of math in as little as three months.

Related: The Three-Step Method to Teaching Math Effectively

Trent, Trevor, and Garet Take On Elephant Learning


Needless to say that the Elephant Learning app exceeded all of Paris’ expectations. 

Confirming Paris’ concerns, Trent, Garet, and Trevor tested below their age groups when they began using the app.

However, within just six months of using the app, all three boys’ progress showed an understanding of mathematics that far exceeded their peers. 

They leveraged the fun and challenge of the math games for kids, designed to aid in mastering math concepts, as they continued to move through the learning sequence. 

When Trent first tried Elephant Learning, he had an Elephant Age of 6.3 years. In just six months, he had gained 3.1 years of mathematics and was testing at 10.4 years. 

Garet’s progress was even more remarkable. Within the six months, he had gained 3.5 years of mathematics. 

Even four-year-old Trevor gained just over two years’ worth of mathematics understanding!

Related: It’s Possible To Take The Dread Out Of Math Lessons

Trent’s Results: 

  • Age: 8.3 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 6.3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 10.4 years
  • The difference after six months: 3.1 years

Trevor’s Results: 

  • Age: 4.8 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 5.1 years
  • The difference after six months: 2.1 years

Garet’s Results:

  • Age: 5.8 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 5 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.5 years
  • The difference after six months: 3.5 years

Elephant Learning makes math fun. Your child will learn the concepts, develop an intuition for math, and ultimately, be set up for lifelong success. 

Brooke Restores Her Confidence in Mathematics with the Elephant Learning Math App
Jul 20

Brooke Restores Her Confidence in Mathematics with the Elephant Learning Math App

By Elephant Learning | Case Study , Math Apps

Devastated after being told she “couldn’t do math” and rapidly falling behind her peers, Brooke was further devastated by a series of disruptions in school. 

Then she found the math app, Elephant Learning, restored her math confidence, and quickly caught up with her peers. 

Brooke’s Defeat in Mathematics

At ten years old, Brooke had lost any confidence that she had in her ability to do math. 

Her mom watched helplessly as Brooke’s lack of confidence grew, and a series of school mishaps made things worse. 

“I believe a teacher from her private school told her she wasn’t good at math,” says Brooke’s mom, Amy. “She is so sweet, and now she is convinced that she can’t do it.”

Confidence is critical to learning, especially in subjects like mathematics.

Confident students can perform under pressure, and they are more likely to be able to rebound when things are tough. 

They are also more willing to take risks and try something new. They are, in short, okay with failing in the short term and more likely, therefore, to succeed over the long term. 

In the fall, Amy pulled Brooke from her private school and placed her in the public system, where she hoped her daughter would find the help she needed. 

Amy quickly learned that her daughter was extremely behind her peers, and Brooke would receive extra help in the form of small group tutoring. 

However, a series of mishaps compounded Brooke’s issues with mathematics.

Her teacher left the classroom and was replaced temporarily with a substitute until the school could find and hire a replacement. At the same time, the small group help that Brooke received took a scheduled month off. 

A lack of continuity in the classroom can be harmful to the best students, but for a struggling student like Brooke, it can be devastating. 

It can spark a cyclical effect where a student fails to trust those who are supposed to help and then falls even further behind. This can further undermine a child’s confidence. 

Even though she was willing to hire someone, Amy was unable to find anyone who had the time to tutor her daughter. It was a perfect storm of circumstances that threatened to destroy any chance of Brooke catching up and restoring her confidence in her ability in math. “We can’t win for losing,” says Amy.

As an involved and proactive parent, Amy did the right thing reaching outward for additional help.  

Wanting to catch your students up in math in their early years, helping them develop the problem-solving skills they will need for the rest of their lives, is integral –  especially when we see that 75% of high school students are not proficient in high school mathematics (and that is up from 66% the previous year). 

Once students get into algebra, if they don’t understand the concept, it’s game over. 

There’s no way to memorize algebra. The best they can do is memorize mnemonics, but as soon as the equations become more complex, which happens fairly quickly, these strategies no longer work.

Because math concepts build on top of each other, if your child doesn’t understand math during their first year, they’re not going to understand things later. 

Early math readiness is significant because the research also shows that children who do more math at the preschool level are better readers, writers, and problem solvers. They also have better grammar and better reading comprehension. 

As children, they may not fully understand counting, but now they’re on to addition and subtraction using memorization as a technique to pass, instead of comprehending the subject.

Once they get to multiplication, the children that were great at memorization look like they are doing well, but it is as if you entered a third-year biochem class after missing the first two years. Everyone sounds like they’re speaking English, but you would not understand what they’re talking about.

In fact, one study showed that preschool math scores predict fifth-grade overall scores, not just fifth-grade math scores.

Related: 5 Common Math App Pitfalls – And How Elephant Learning is Different

Finding the Elephant Learning Math App

Frustrated by Brooke’s lack of confidence and knowing she was slipping farther and farther behind, Amy searched for help. 

She found the math app, Elephant Learning online, and was intrigued by the app’s many good reviews, particularly from parents whose children struggled with mathematics. 

Brooke was immediately engaged with the gamified curriculum.  

Elephant Learning was created with the most effective mathematics activities documented by early-age education researchers who dedicated their lives to discovering the most effective way to teach.  

Because of this, Brooke easily exceeded the recommended 30 minutes per week, excited to continue the puzzles and games as she learned.  

In addition, Amy loved that there were coaching videos provided to help throughout the entire process, as well as advice on how to work with students on mistakes so that there is never a ton of pressure.  

Parents will also find games to play with their children outside of the app that further supports learning. 

Many math apps are parent-free zones or, at best, parents are an afterthought within the app. Elephant Learning knows that the best results come when the parent is involved in the child’s education. 

Every study shows that outcomes for students are better when parents are involved. 

Brooke’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Math tends to be like mental gymnastics: it exercises your mind. 

Children who are doing more math are practicing mental skills more often; just like you might practice a simple skill like chewing gum and walking at the same time, children can practice counting while holding a number in their head.

When she started Elephant Learning, Brooke lagged behind most of her peers. 

At age ten, she tested at an Elephant Learning Age of just 7.5 years. An Elephant Learning age is determined by an average of what most children know at a given age. 

To her mom, Amy’s pleasant surprise, within only six months of using the app, Brooke had gained over one year’s worth of math and was quickly regaining her confidence.

Once there’s a gap in your child’s math understanding, math anxiety builds due to that gap.

If your child doesn’t understand the teacher or topic during a math lesson, they assume they’re not good.

Our society tells them it’s okay if they are just “not a numbers person,” encouraging them to give up trying.

Once it is okay not to be good at one subject, it makes it easy to have excuses for being deficient in other subjects.

At Elephant Learning, our only goal is to ensure that children are empowered by mathematics. Not only do we aim to empower the student but also the parent. You no longer have to be afraid to take your child’s math education into your own hands.

Related: Why Your Child Is Behind In Math (Yes, Even Your Child)

Brooke’s Results: 

  • Age: 10.9 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 7.5 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.6 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.1 years

“She is so sweet and now she is convinced that she can’t do it.”
– Mom, Amy

5 Common Math App Pitfalls — and How Elephant Learning Is Different
Aug 19

5 Common Math App Pitfalls — and How Elephant Learning Is Different

By Elephant Learning | Curriculum , Math Apps

As a parent with a child struggling in math or striving to get ahead, you have an overwhelming choice to make. Between thousands of online resources and hundreds of math apps, you may wonder what makes one resource different from another aside from the price point and the graphics.

If you’ve already tried a number of apps, you’ve probably noticed that a typical math app’s strategy is to throw math components into an online game, but this never gets to the root of the problem: if a child has math anxiety or is averse to doing mathematics, the game is not fooling them. If anything, it may be turning mathematics into work.

When we see statistics like 75% of high school students are not proficient in high school mathematics (and that is up from 66% in 2007!), it’s clear that while the number of applications on the market for mathematics has exploded, none of them are moving the needle. 

At Elephant Learning, we believe it is possible to make educational software that emphasizes education first and is also fun. It is an important difference. Our only goal is to ensure that children are empowered by mathematics

From our founding mission to the curriculum behind the games, here are five ways Elephant Learning is different from many popular math apps. 

1. We Are a Gamification of a Proven Curriculum

Elephant Learning started with the most effective mathematics activities as documented by early-age education researchers — scientists that have dedicated their lives to finding the most effective way to teach. We used these activities to create puzzle games for children.

Because we are starting with an activity that we know works, rather than figuring out how to mishmash math into a game that will be “entertaining,” we know that the outcome is going to be effective. This places the emphasis on learning. The rest of the tool is built around this.

2. Our Choices Are Research Oriented

Science says that if a child does activity A in order to do activity B, then activity A becomes work. 

In the case of having children do math in order to play games, this means that mathematics is becoming “work” to the child. That does not feel like empowerment. With every decision we make, we are painstakingly ensuring that the message we are sending to the student is the most empowering.  

That is also why we are creating coaching videos to help you use our tool every step of the way. The way we overcome math anxiety is by ensuring that children understand the concepts, and that we develop a healthy relationship with mathematics going forward. 

In fact, the research says doing mathematics at your level of understanding is fun, like a puzzle game, and it develops the problem-solving skills that children need everywhere in life.

3. We Treat It Like a Med

If you’ve ever read the “Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss, he talks about a med (medicine). With medicine, you want to take the required dosage; anything greater than the required dosage creates declining results. Ferriss’ example was tanning. If you tan for 15 minutes, it’s the optimal amount of time in the sun. Any more than 15 minutes and you run the risk of burning; any less and the results are not as optimal.

Every choice we make treats our system like a med. That is why we have daily playtime timers to limit usage so that students do not burn out. But more than that, that is also why we do go overboard on motivational techniques. 

People have studied the most addictive apps on the market and have books with formulas designed to make apps consume your time. That is not Elephant Learning’s goal — empowerment does not come through addiction. Our goal is to get children to use it 10 minutes per day, three days per week. If a student wants to do more, let them, but it is important to keep it within reason so that the student does not burn out on it. The child takes the “med”, they get the result and they apply it in their lives. 

Related Article: The Real Reason Math Curriculum is Failing Your Child

4. Progress Based on Reality 

For most students (everyone older than five), the Elephant Learning app experience starts with a placement exam or training phase. They train with the app’s algorithms, which determines their initial math comprehension. 

This is vital because you won’t be starting your child out at where they should be according to their grade or age. Instead, we’re starting with the curriculum that your child is actually ready to tackle, based on their comprehension. 

This ensures children feel empowered (because they’re not automatically greeted with math problems they’re bound to fail, as soon as they start using the app), they have fun doing math problems they’re capable of doing and the math doesn’t become annoying “work.” 

Meanwhile, other apps assume your child may know, for example, multiplication tables because they’re in third grade. Elephant Learning actually takes the time to find out where your child really is in their math comprehension and where their math gap actually started. The resulting experience for the child is a huge, empowering difference.

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5. Power to the Parents

Many math apps are parent-free zones or, at best, parents are an afterthought within the app. 

Elephant Learning knows that the best results come when the parent is involved in the child’s education. Every study shows outcomes for students are better when parents are involved. The truth is, when I started this company, my first child was on his way. I created this system as a tool to ensure that he receives the benefits of mathematics education and avoids the American educational pitfall. 

We live in a time when, increasingly, if you are not the person creating the automation, you are the person being replaced by it. Our reports detail exactly how we intend to teach each topic down to the milestone level with advice on how you can further learning with fun games outside of the system. This turns your child’s playtime in the system into a tool to succeed in playtime with you. We provide advice on how to work with the students on mistakes so that the pressure is always off. At any point in time, if your student is struggling, we are always happy to look at the data and advise. That is why Elephant Learning can guarantee results.

The math app you choose for your child’s learning matters. Apps that focus on games and graphics with math sprinkled throughout may end up turning those math problems into perceived work for your child (and can become addictive). Elephant Learning begins with a proven curriculum and scientific understanding of how children learn math. We then build games and puzzles around the curriculum, empowering students to truly grasp math concepts. Knowing that parental involvement is key to student success, we also ensure that you, the parent, are involved every step of the way. 

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