App Review: Exploring the Core

November 3, 2016

I just downloaded a new app that I think will be helpful reference! It’s called Exploring the Core. (At last check, it was $2.99.) It is, essentially, an easy-to-use encyclopedia of Common Core math content standards. It includes a list of the standards, by grade, and a glossary to help you understand what all the terms mean. So, handy, though not much added value there.

But what is really special is the skills section of the app, which gives a map by major content area of the skills students will need to know. Say we click on Operations and Algebraic Thinking.

We’ve got an easy-to-scan map of skills by grade and type. And the types are easy to understand: word problems, fluency, equations, graphing, etc.
Click on one and you get a page that shows you the target, the standards that match it, and mathematical images that explain it, along with the conceptual knowledge beneath it.

And here’s the real beauty of Exploring the Core: the examples are mathematically rigorous, clear, connected to a solid conceptual understanding, and feature useful diagrams/manipulative ideas to use when teaching. How easy would it have been to just say, know your sums and differences up to 10, and apply up to 20 with this standard? By applying the images, the app suggests the kind of thinking numerically fluent students should actually be doing to build fluency. If they don’t have everything memorized yet, you can use ten frames and manipulatives or pictures to help get your kids there.

And that’s what makes this app so useful. I think Exploring the Core will prove helpful for me and the teachers I know, as a reference for the CC standards that fills in what’s between the lines with mathematically accurate images.

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