Bar Mathematics is the sister website to visnos visual numbers website. The Visnos site was created to provide teachers with resources to explain Math concepts using interactive whiteboards. Both Visnos and Bar Mathematics are the creation of Michael McDaid a Mathematics teacher based in England.
One of the most popular activities on the visnos site is the fraction wall. Deciding to see how it could be improved and extended. A quick app was mocked up, this allowed dragging of the bricks/bars of the fraction wall onto a number line. This is a great way to show addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions. But it was obvious that it could also be used more for basic integer arithmetic. In fact the more I played around with the mock up the more I realised that I had stumbled on something that could potentially change the way students learn mathematics.
Far too many people claim they can’t do Math. This despite having passed through the school system in advanced countries where vast sums of money is invested in education. In my opinion there is nothing in the school math curriculum that can’t be mastered by any normal person. It is ludicrous that people could have passed through the school system system and be incapable of adding fractions or solving a linear equation.
When I created the Visnos website I wanted to be able to show visually various Math concepts. The problem was each demonstration was pretty much a standalone activity. Bar Math is different because it uses one system in which mathematics is connected, providing a holistic way of working rather than seeing the curriculum as a list of separate topics. So once a child is familiar with adding integers, then they can see that adding fractions visually in not so different. But the system can also explain more abstract ideas such as what happens if we subtract negative five from seven. When children can build connections, they grow in confidence and understanding of the subject.
The first few apps will be released over the next few months and I will be making videos to go on youtube to explain in more details exactly what is special about this system. Apps will be available for iOS, android,google chrome and windows.