SMART Table in my Classroom – Addition with Fingers

Ignore the shapes on the background which I mistakenly added – this Addition Application activity is about answering the addition and subtraction sums appearing in the centre. Children need to add the correct number of fingers onto the table to answer the question.

Addition App – Set to multi-touch finger counts from Tom Barrett on Vimeo.

Watching my Year 5s using it I was surprised at how engaged they were, it is after all simple addition or subtraction. The unique nature of the “finger count” setting is it causes the children to rely on their peers to help them answer the question. If we don’t work together we don’t progress. The collaboration from even just 2 or 3 kids was great to watch.

This application is not new, I have seen and used it before on the Philips Entertaible. Which allowed any object placed on the surface to count as “1”. This was a good feature of that device as it allowed more flexibility to support early counting strategies etc. Not so with the SMART Table which needs a firm finger press.

The size of integers and answers increase as the number of learners set to use it does. (this is done in the admin screen) More finger presses are needed and higher numbers correspondng to the maximum of that group.

Another setting for the Addition application is to show answers using currency – which for British currency is frankly woeful, no colour, incorrect sizes of coins. Canadian and US seems to be in colour not surprising really. Counters or counting blocks can also be used and I will look into this next week.

I was most pleased with the level of engagement from the children and although on the surface this seems to be a simple application, it definitely requires a level of teamwork that you often do not get. 

It is intriguing watching the children’s first attempts and how they realise they need to work together. As the challenge is small scale, once they have been successful they begin to refine their approach, communicate better and so get to later answers quicker.

8 thoughts on “SMART Table in my Classroom – Addition with Fingers

  1. Now that is some cool, cooperative Math.

  2. Have to agree with you; the finger-arithmetic is a brilliant activity for getting some collaboration and communication going, and about the woeful clipart for UK currency! Disappointed to hear that objects won’t work, as a number of the students I have had doing this at the Table have really struggled with the motor skills necessary to use it properly. But, it being such a good activity, I’m sure we’ll find a work-round!

  3. The cooperative nature needed to complete the tasks is really key in this task, it reminds me of the early work we did with Google Docs and editing one document. The importance of teamwork and communication was clear in that task as it is with this.

    It would be good to be able to extend this activity and develop it further.

  4. This looks like a cool app – really straight-forward too. We’d love to have you up again sometime, maybe to see our new tables when they arrive?

  5. Tom,

    Could you share the reason why the students must use much force in order to enter a “touch” into the screen of the SMARTTable? Is it the application or the hardware?



  6. Hi Lynn, they have to exert some pressure for the touch to be registered. So it is the hardware that requires it not the software.

  7. Hi Tom,

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