Teacher creates apps to help with math fluency

2:39 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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MARIETTA, Ga - When you entered Martin Esterman's seventh grade math classes last year at Marietta Middle School, you'd see students playing video games on their phones, tablets or computers for the first five minutes of the period.

All the students are playing the same game.

"This is my game, Addition Blocks," said Esterman. "There's a lot of great educational games out there, but there shooting things, but where the math involved?  With this one, the game is math," said Esterman.


Nearly three years ago, Esterman wrote the game as a hobby, but then he found his seventh graders enjoyed playing.

Later, he found a national STEM Video game design competition and entered.  He had to not only provide a prototype of the game, but a research paper on the educational value, viability, production and development.

"AdditionBlocks won the $10,000 Grand Prize for the educator entry for PBS Kids level (1st & 2nd grade). With the prize money, I have been able to purchase the necessary software and equipment to create the game for iOS devices, Android devices, Windows OS, Mac OS, and HTML (Web version)," said Esterman.

This school year, Esterman stepped down from teaching to work full-time on developing math apps and his latest app is called Multiplication Blocks.


The object of the game is to connect adjacent blocks to come up with the sum that is flashed on the screen.

The game is not designed to teach addition, but to increase speed and accuracy when adding.

"Speed and accuracy in addition is going to lead to speed and accuracy in multiplication (and in other aspect of math)," said Esterman.

"It also helps you with your math fluency because I'm not going to lie. I use my fingers a lot when I'm adding and stuff," said Jalani Hayward, a seventh grader. 

"I think if they see little glimpses that math can be fun.  I think it will be easier for them to not be scared of it," said Esterman.

"I play it on the bus coming home from school," said Story Mason, a student. "It's actually fun because it's fast trying to get to the bonus level."

 "I think it's because he has the patience to work with us," said Austin Cryer, a student.

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