Students discover so much by playing with new ideas and applying concepts with manipulatives. This exploration and application was once applied only to physical manipulatives; however, hundreds of virtual math tools and manipulatives are now available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. As more schools have achieved a 1:1 device-to-student ratio, new doors of opportunity have been opened.
The tools on this page focus on the manipulation and application of math concepts and skills. Nearly all are free and easily accessed. To learn more and discover ways to help get you started with integrating math tools into your classroom, explore the three larger types of virtual math tools detailed below.
Tools to Calculate, Graph, Express, and Measure
- Desmos: This powerful site includes a suite of free math tools for students in grades 6–12, including graphing, scientific, four-function, and matrix calculators. You will also find a whiteboard with embedded geometry tools, free digital classroom activities, an activity builder, and a workspace to practice using calculators as they appear in specified state exams. Students join a teacher’s class with a class code.
- EquatIO: This Google Chrome extension is ideal for creating your own math resources. It allows you to insert math symbols, formulas, shapes, and equations into digital documents. Other features include a graphing tool, science tools including a periodic table of elements, handwriting recognition that converts a picture of your work into digital text, and a microphone tool for dictating equations with speech input. View this quick overview video to see EquatIO in action. Teachers can get the premium version for free using this link.
- GeoGebra: This powerful suite of free online tools brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics, and calculus. You will find a collection of online activities, calculators, and math tools, such as a graphing calculator, scientific calculator, 3D calculator, geometry tools, CAS calculator, and options for probability graphing. There is also a notes whiteboard with integrated math tools, such as shapes, a ruler, a protractor, and more. Students join a teacher’s class with a lesson code.
- Meta-Calculator: This site also hosts a suite of popular calculators, including graphing, scientific, matrix, statistics, standard deviation, fractions, and root calculators, among others. You can even access a free online graph paper maker.
- Online Protractor: This is a simple-to-use online protractor. You can upload an image as the background and then move the protractor to measure angles. Select the color, rotation, radius, and more.
- Robo Compass: Use this virtual compass tool as you would use a physical straightedge, compass, and protractor. This is great for creating geometrical constructions. Step-by-step tutorials are available for viewing. Log in to save your work.
Dice and Other Random Number Generators
- AOA Video Randomizers: These video recordings from AVID Open Access are ideal for embedding into Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, a learning management system (LMS), websites, or Seesaw. Embedding allows students to interact with the tool (such as rolling virtual dice) directly on the page where they are working, rather than requiring them to leave their learning space and open another app. Multiple options are available from the AVID Open Access gallery, including virtual dice, spinners, decks of cards, and a balloon or duck number picker.
- Classroomscreen (Tips):This digital canvas of classroom tools includes an option to roll one, two, or three dice. It even includes a rolling dice sound effect.
- Google Roll Dice: Choose from six different dice options. The sum of multiple dice is automatically figured and posted. Use this link or simply Google “roll dice” to access this tool.
- Probability Spinners: This simple spinner tool is part of the MathsPad suite. Choose from two to eight spinner options. Add a timer or additional blank pages to work problems. Annotate with two markers and spin as desired.
- Really Good Dice: This option is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to access dice from your Chrome toolbar. Right-click on the toolbar shortcut to choose your options. Choose the number of dice desired (up to nine) and roll.
- teacherLED: This simple interface allows you to roll one, two, or three dice. Visually, it looks like you are rolling dice into the closed end of a box. Consider linking to this page to have students use it.
Galleries of Virtual Manipulatives
- Didax: This site contains 19 free virtual manipulatives. Choose the desired option and click the icon to open. Video instructions are included for each manipulative. Options include Ten Frames, Number Lines, Bead Rekenrek, Number Boards, Color Tiles, Base Ten Blocks, Math Balance, Pattern Blocks, Algebra Tiles, and more.
- The Math Learning Center: This site contains a gallery of free math apps. Apps include Fractions, Geoboard, Math Clock, Math Vocabulary Cards, Money Pieces, Number Chart, Number Frames, Number Line, Number Pieces, Number Rack, Partial Product Finder, Pattern Shapes, and Whiteboard. A web version is available for each app, as well as downloadable versions for select operating systems, including iOS.
- Mathigon: Mathigon calls itself “the textbook of the future.” This free site includes a suite of math manipulatives, math activities, and free math courses for grades 6–12. The Polypad features a robust whiteboard with dedicated sets of tools for geometry, numbers, fractions, algebra, probability, and data, as well as a section for games and applications. Teachers can set up classrooms and have students join with a class code.
- MathsPad: This virtual whiteboard provides a collection of simple math tools, including a protractor, compass, and ruler. Users also have access to drawing and line tools. Use of the tool is free, although a subscription is required to save your work. Additional interactive tools are available through a menu option. While some choices require a membership, free options include constructions, plans and elevations, graphing, exterior angles, decimal blocks, shifting times tables, l-shapes, and probability spinners.
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Sponsored by NCTM, the Illuminations page includes many free interactive digital activities, including an Isometric Drawing Tool, Ten Frame, Adjustable Spinner, and Geometric Solids. Also available are math challenges, activities to connect to real-life applications, and more. A membership is required to access some content.
- Polyhedra Viewer: Manipulate and explore over 120 solids with this virtual polyhedra viewer. Select one of the solids to view a pallet of exploration tools and manipulative options. Multiple operations and options are available for each selection.