Teaching fractions has been one of the hardest tasks as a homeschool mom I’ve ever had! While MathUSee makes it easier, and we love their fraction overlays, sometimes a kid just needs something they can do on their own. That led me to find some math games for kids that were fun, interactive, and online. Visnos is a free interactive graphics based teaching tools that shows the fractions and how to work with them.
What Is Visnos?
Visnos was created by Michael McDaid in 2011. He used to teach Math but is currently on working on this site and adding more functionality. The purpose of the site is stated below.
Whole books are written on both learning styles and how the brain functions, but briefly children learn through a variety of styles. These include visual, logical, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic. Most people have a preferred learning style or styles. These different styles actually engage different parts of the brain. In fact it is now believed that engaging multiple areas of the brain while learning a topic, can greatly increase the chances of it being retained. ~ Visnos.com
They also have an app to teach multiplication using fish (complete with air bubbles floating to the top), a very visual way to show division that can show all kinds of equations visually, as well as many others. The list of what they have includes:
- Starter Calculate Percent Fraction Decimal: A spinner creates a random number. The class then have one min to multiply the value by percentages ,fractions or decimal values. Makes a great lesson starter to get brains active. Also provides discussion for various ways of getting the answers.
- Sieve of Eratosthenes: Named after the Greek Mathematician. This classic method of finding prime numbers is also great for teaching about factors and multiples. The Visnos sieve allows for multi colored squares this allows identification of any numbers prime factors.
- Percentage Fraction Decimal Grid: Divide a square or circle up into a number of parts. The slices or rectangles can be painted various colors and these colors then represented as either decimals, fractions or percentages.
- Fractions Wall: This activity can be used to explore equivalence between fractions, decimals and percentages. Fractions are represented by layers of bricks which can be turned on or off. It easy to show why for example that one half is equal to two-quarters or four-eighths.
- Time, Angles & Fractions: This activity has many uses. Display the current time analogue or digital. The clock hands can be dragged to show different times. The clock can also demonstrate angles and has been updated for fractions and percentages too.
- Fish Times Tables: Learning the times tables is extremely important, this activity can quickly demonstrate any tables value. The visual representation allows children to grasp very quickly that multiplication is commutative i.e 3×4 is the same as 4×3.
- Basic Angles: Learn to recognise acute, obtuse, reflex and right angles. Create and investigate problems involving complementary or supplementary angles, intersecting lines and angles at a point. Angles can be automatically displayed or measured using a protractor.
- Polygon Explorer: Create and manipulate polygons, examine how the interior and exterior angles change as the number of sides increase. Drag vertices, use a protractor or ruler to measure angles and length properties
- Random Spinners: The spinners can be used simply to generate random numbers. Or try the built in activities, the first a game requires children to use their skills to reach a target number by adding, subtracting or multiplying the spinner values. With more advanced activities requiring calculation and/or algebraic substitution using the spinner values.
- Addition & Subtraction Facts: Teaches addition and subtraction facts up to twenty using animated penguins. The penguins jump between two icebergs to show addition facts for the given total. For subtraction facts the penguins dive off the iceberg into the water below. A number line represents the number facts.
- Classroom Timer: The classroom timer, is a general purpose countdown timer for lessons. It can be used as an effective way to get a class to focus on the task at hand. It has two mode, the ‘seconds mode’ for very quick tasks of less than 60 seconds. The ‘minutes mode’ is used for longer activities of up to an hour.
- Number Explorer: Visually divide numbers and display calculation to show the remainder, fraction or decimals value. Test if a number is a triangular or square. Run automated tests for divisibility, factor pairs or prime factors.
- Two Clocks : This clock activity is great for teaching about time problems. The first clock shows the start time, while the second clock shows the end time. The duration between the times can be automatically calculated. Either clock or the duration can be hidden.
- Explore PI: This interactive demonstration shows firstly how pi relates to the circumference of a circle. This is achieved using a regular polygon approximation, the closed polygon is opened to reveal this magical number. The area of a circle π r2 is also explained using animated slices.
- Fractal Explorer: The fractal explorer shows how a very simple pattern, when repeated can produce an incredible range of images. From organic tree like structures to rigid geometric forms. Fun to use and lots of mathematical concepts involved.
- Counting with fish: Animated fish at their most basic. This demo is great for learning to count, also identify even and odd numbers. Learn to count in groups of 1s, 2s, 3s etc. Designed to helps children conceptualize counting patterns.
What We Like!
We like this approach, we really do. Now, you can just show the kidlings (of all ages) the tools and let them have it. They aren’t as afraid as we adults at pushing buttons. However, Michael went one step further and created a full blown tutorial video about how to use the fraction app! We LOVE that even more.
This site gets 3 thumbs up and a huge LJSkool smile!
Introducing Bar Math!
When the Visnos website as created it showed visually various Math concepts. Each demonstration was pretty much a standalone activity. The Bar Math website 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.
Once a child is familiar with adding integers, then they can see that adding fractions visually in not so different. 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.