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Unpacking the Common Core: Best Middle School Apps

September 25, 2013

Posted by Sarah Pliske

As promised, we’ve come back this month with a new list of the 12 best middle school apps educators teaching the Common Core can’t live without! To learn more about how these iPad apps made our middle school list, check out our recently recorded webinar on Unpacking the Common core with iPad Apps: Middle School Edition describing how to develop a successful rubric to select and unpack best-of-breed apps that align to Common Core State Standards.


These 12 middle school apps scored highly on all dimensions of our rubric criteria. Additionally, based on student engagement and achievement data from within the eSpark app, these 12 apps consistently receive positive student ratings and demonstrate academic rigor.

5 Dice: Order of Operations Game


By Justin Holladay

  • 5th Grade, Math
  • Higher-order thinking
  • Multi-step problem solving
  • Utilizes gyromotion

Sail Through Math


By McGraw-Hill Education Group

  • 6th – 8th grade, Math
  • Covers math facts, algebra, number sense, rational numbers
  • Fun, very engaging, intuitive
  • Progressively more challenging

ThUMP Ultimate Calculus and Algebra Training


By Mathtoons

  • 6th – 8th grade, Math
  • Exponents, radicals, algebra (varying levels), trigonometry, geometry
  • Well aligned
  • Fun interface, graphics, etc.

Thinking Blocks Ratios


By Math Playground

  • 6th – 7th grade, Math
  • Word problems
  • Addresses multiple learning styles
  • Feedback

Middle School Math HD


By Interactive Elementary

  • 6th-7th grade, Math (variety of topics)
  • Well-aligned, especially for hard-to-find standards (e.g. coordinate planes)
  • Funny characters and sound effects

Chicken Coop Fractions Game


By Lumpty Learning

  • 7th grade, Math
  • Fraction and decimal equivalents
  • Challenging skill, very targeted
  • Fun game

Frankie for Kids


By Yellow+Blue Digital Content

  • 8th grade, Literature
  • classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • CCSS Exemplar text
  • Beautiful graphics and visuals
  • Accessible

Wild Dolphins


by Polymash Inc

  • 6th grade, Informational Text
  • One of highest rated by eSparkers
  • Free!
  • Rich in interactivity and multimedia

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are


by Electric Eggplant

  • 6th-7th grade, Literature
  • Relevant topic
  • Socio-emotional learning
  • Graphic novel format

The Jungle Book, adapted for the iPad


By Random House Digital, Inc.

  • 5th-6th grade, Literature
  • Option of picture book or classic novel
  • CCSS exemplar text
  • Can be aligned to multiple standards

Chicktionary for iPad


By Blockdot, Inc

  • 6th-8th, Language
  • Spelling and vocab building game
  • ELL student-friendly
  • Competitive, board game-like

Frankenstein Matchmaker - Monsters Need Love Too


By Dreamkind

  • 6th-8th, Language
  • Engaging graphics
  • Fun topic for middle-schoolers
  • Synonyms and antonyms

This is just a small taste of the apps we’ve found and incorporated into our eSpark curriculum. We find relevant apps for each student in your classroom—not just for each grade level and Common Core standard. Our goal is to take the burden of this app search off of administrators and teachers by curating a library of the best educational apps for the iPad. Along with this relevant, student centered curriculum, we also provide our district partners with understandable, actionable data, streamlined easy iPad setup, and expert teacher coaching and support.

Want to learn how eSpark finds the best iPad apps?

Check out our recently recorded webinar with Learning Design Director, Emily Quiroz, as she discusses eSpark's curation process, our rubric criteria, and the data behind our best middle school app selections.

Want to experience eSpark for yourself?

Click below to request a demo and an eSpark team member will set you up to take a tour of the eSpark platform!



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