Math Zoo an app made with App Inventor is available on google play store
Staples High School Senior Philip DeMunck and Yu-Min Cho, 6th Grader at Helen Keller Middle School, meet most Saturday mornings to work on an idea for an app.
After a few months, the pair who first started out practicing coding at Happy Code Club decided to embark on a project, following Yu-Min’s original idea, to build an app for Android with App Inventor.
In March of 2020, after many hours together and several iterations of the app, the pair finally published Math Zoo, an app that helps students from K to 8th Grade practice math by solving grade level math problems in basic arithmetic and algebra. Math Zoo now available on the Google Play Store was Yu-Min’s original idea and name and with the help of Philip, his mentor and Happy Code Club Coding instructor, they managed to learn the App Inventor platform, plan the goals of the app, program their ideas, troubleshoot and finally iterate until they had a working app worthy of sharing with the world.
The app is a potential teaching resource for students in Middle School and High School learn how to build apps that tackle real world problems, just like Yu-Min’s app and it can also be used to make gaming apps or apps that do neat things.
We asked Philip what were some of the challenges while building the app and he said they had a few issues all of which needed solving:
“Since we built larger concepts in AppInventor like the problem generator, it was sometimes hard to keep everything organized in their respective functions. We tended to forget where certain things were and had to expand/collapse the blocks frequently. We solved this by creating new functions for new functionality instead of editing older ones. We also sometimes had trouble when we created a bug because there are no debug prompts anywhere in AppInventor so we instead had to very closely look through the blocks and see where an issue may have arisen.”
Philip also highlighted some of the learning gains of this project:
“Overall we both came out of the project with lots of new AppInventor experience. Building an app from the ground up with such complicated features (database storage, problem generation, multiple screens, etc) caused us to constantly have to improve and redesign portions to make them better for the end user. Yu-Min is extremely capable and was especially excited when we finally finished the problem generation (key feature of the app), and got that to work. Seeing that in action really allowed him to visualize that this app was actually possible and that we were going to actually finish it. App Inventor as a platform I feel is great because it provides the best structure for an introductory programming course while also incorporating advanced features like databases. AppInventor makes it all easy to access and learn through its block based language, which is a great starting point for a lot of students.”
Yu-Min also added this: “App developing was challenging but fun at the same time. I am proud to complete my first app and hope that I can create many more.’
App Inventor is an open source coding platform to build apps for Android. Anyone can learn it for free on their own and if time permits, use it to build apps and publish to the Google Play Store.
Tags: @EastonCTPTO, Westport PTA Council , @MITAppinventor