This post is also being posted for an assignment in my educational technology class:
When I was teaching in the middle school, I was lucky enough to have the school provide me with an iPad to help me in the classroom. I used quite a few apps for many different activities, but my three favorites were these:
Desmos: This app is wonderful. It is not just a graphing program, but it will also solve quite a few complicated problems, and the user interface is very student friendly. I used this heavily with my algebra 1 students, but I also got a lot of use with my pre-algebra students as well when we were learning geometry. I particularly enjoyed letting them learn about the coordinate plane by putting in points to draw objects. I still remember one of them drew a duck.
My Script Calculator: There are a ton of calculators for any number of different purposes in app form. I particularly liked this one because the input was simply written mathematics, as opposed to punching button like other calculators. This one would read when you wrote, and try to solve the equations for you. It would even do algebra.
Five Dice: This was my favorite “game” I ever found for working with numbers. Order of operations was never my favorite thing to teach (when we are apply mathematics, we mostly know what order we want to do operations), but I really enjoyed this app because it gave students an open middle of the problem to work. They rolled 5 (or 3,4, or 6, I think) and then they used the four operation signs and the numbers on their dice to create an answer that was given by the app. I think this forced them to do a little more computing, as them may have not gotten the correct number sentence right away, and they started to learn a little more about being strategic with numbers (like knowing multiplication was involved if the numbers got significantly bigger).