Mathematical Playground -The Solid-

Category: Maths

Ages: 7-11 11-14
Price: iPhone/iPad - £6.99

A space and shape based app for exploring the properties of three-dimensional shapes, from volume and nets to cutting slices from a shape.  This app allows users to really explore a shape, rotating it, zooming in and out, identifying faces, edges and vertices.  It could be used in the classroom or the workplace to help solve or represent problems.  It is particularly useful for hard to find shapes, such as an octagonal pole or the regular dodecahedron.


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Teacher Review

A cleverly thought out app that allows users to explore the properties of three-dimensional shapes.  Concepts, such as nets, volume, faces, edges and vertices are introduced at KS2, practiced through KS3, and explored in detail at GCSE level but with further additions such as distance between 3D points that uses trigonometry.
Upon opening this app, users are presented with a list of shapes and their names.  Once a shape is selected and the next button pressed, users are prompted to change the dimensions of their chosen shape.  Immediately, this extends the use of the app from a simple show and tell to an app that allows user to replicate real-life problems.  Next, users are presented with an interface from where they can explore the properties of the shape in detail.  From here, the in-app assistant can offer help; alternatively, the developer’s website offers useful pictures that clearly highlight the features and explains them simply.  It would be useful to see this feature brought within the app, to supplement the in-app assistant.  
Returning to this page, users are able to select from four main options on the right hand side: “Cut Point”; “Shape”; “Face” and “Edge”.  When clicked, each of these offers a different sub-menu on the left hand side.  “Cut Point” allows the user to select three points which will slice through the shape, they can then separate the sub-shape from its main shape.  This process can be repeated, essentially, dissecting a 3D shape.  The distance between two points can also be measured from here – this leads into the trigonometrical and geometrical properties at GCSE level. The “Shape” menu allows the volume to be calculated, the colour to be changed, etc.  Clicking “Face” creates two menus on the left-hand side: “area” and “expand”.  “Area”, calculates the area of a specific face – a very useful feature for all key stages in identifying the area of different 2D shapes and the surface area of 3D shapes.  “Expand” allows a user to expand a shape into its net form, or more specifically, individually expand each face.  There is the ability to rotate the shape as well as view it from different angles.  This is extremely useful as often learners find it difficult to view 3D shapes abstractly and the ability to manipulate these shapes adds a lot of value to the app.  If used appropriately, there is also the ability to explore a range of different nets created by different shapes.  Finally, clicking “Edge” allows the length of an edge to be measured, a specific edge to be expanded (a useful introduction to scaling) or an external solid added.
Aside from the main features, the app also has the ability to print directly – this allows users to render the image in a greyscale format, making the printout much clearer. Similarly, users can save their work as well as draw on it with the free hand tool.  Finally, each feature within the app is available for a range of 3D shapes.  
Overall, certainly worth of a four-star rating, and with some improvement to the navigational structures and user instructions, would merits a five-star rating.

From the Developer

This is an educational tool that deals with solids in mathematics. It could be very useful for those who is learning or teaching about solids.

Understanding about solids could be beneficial. Because we live in at least three dimensional world, and we have received benefits from many products, and the shape of which are designed in 3D.

[Release Sale]
We offer 50% discounts until end of Jan. 2017

--Abstract Features--

• This app enables you to virtually touch, measure, or even cut the basic shape of solids.

• This tool draws solids from the angles you wish. Beside this, you can print out or share the drawn image.

• This app is especially designed for the teachers to use in class.

- Locally distribute the solid data to unspecified people via the WiFi or the Bluetooth (You can know who received the data.)

- Coloring solids

- Highlighting a plane or an edge

- Overlay free-hand drawing layer

• You don't have to worry about how to use this app because a guide lives in the app by default.

∞∞† This app runs on… †∞∞

iPhone 4s or newer.

iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation or newer, iPad mini series, iPad Air series, iPad Pro series.

[iPod touch]
iPod touch (5th generation or newer).

iOS8.0 or elder.

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