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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


Developer: Justin Holladay

Price: Free

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



 Sail Through Math

sail_through_math-2Developer: McGraw-Hill Education Group

Price: $1.99

  • 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


Developer: Mathtoons

Price: $1.99

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


Thinking Blocks Ratios


Developer: Math Playground

Price: Free 

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


Middle School Math HD


Developer: Interactive Elementary

Price: $2.99

  • 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


Developer: Lumpty Learning

Price: Free

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


Frankie for Kids


Developer: Yellow+Blue Digital Content

Price: $4.99 

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


Wild Dolphins


Developer: Polymash Inc

Price: Free

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




Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

Middle_School_Confidential-1Developer: Electric Eggplant

Price: $2.99

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



The Jungle Book, adapted for the iPad

The_Jungle_BookDeveloper: Random House Digital, Inc.

Price: $1.99

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



Chicktionary for iPad


Developer: Blockdot, Inc

Price: Free

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


Frankenstein Matchmaker - Monsters Need Love Too


Developer: Dreamkind

Price: $1.99

  • 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?

Download our free eBook on How to Find a Common Core App featuring the best middle school apps featured above, plus one new bonus app! 

Download eBook Now >

Topics: App Recommendations  Middle School Education