Best Apps For Teaching Math

You know that moment when you’re sitting in your math class and the teacher is talking about derivatives, and you’re just like, “What? What are you saying?”

And then you do this thing where you pretend to be listening and nodding, but really all you want is for the teacher to stop talking so that you can go home and forget this whole thing ever happened?

Or maybe you’re one of those people who excels at math. You love it. You think it’s exciting and fun and challenging. You eat, sleep, and breathe math—and now that I’m thinking about it… maybe that explains why you don’t have any friends.

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Either way, we’ve got a solution: an app! No more tedious lectures from teachers who barely understand what they’re talking about themselves (or worse yet—teachers who don’t even realize they don’t understand it). Just download one of these apps on your phone or tablet (or whatever), open up their lessons anytime you want, and get started learning!

The best math apps for Android for better math skills - Android Authority

Best Apps For Teaching Math

However, for some students, the subject can present a real challenge; but knowing where to turn to for help can greatly mitigate the struggle and improve their understanding.

Many schools offer students the ability to get creative with their math resources—turning to apps, websites, and online programs to help them literally solve the problems in front of them. Choosing the most helpful, appropriate, and enjoyable online math tools can be a problem on its own—but luckily, with the help of a few of the teachers at CalPac, an online charter school that serves Southern California, that problem is easily solved.

Here are their 15 favorite online resources for teaching math online — to help make math more approachable and fun for students at all grade levels.

15 Apps & Websites For Teaching Math Online

  1. Khan Academy
    Khan Academy is a completely free personalized learning resource with online courses, videos, and exercises. Students can complete daily reviews and keep track of their progress within the platform’s learning dashboard. The math tutorials are categorized by subject and by grade level for easy navigation and utilize specialized content—with the help of organizations like NASA, California Academy of Sciences, and The Museum of Modern Art—to bring the lessons to life.

What teachers love: Practice problems provide hints one step at a time, so students can get help when they’re stuck at a specific point, but don’t necessarily need help with the entire problem. This allows them to work things out for themselves and learn at their own pace.

Grade levels: K-12; secondary

See also 25 Of The Best Math Resources For 2018

  1. IXL
    While IXL is a subscription-based learning site, it does offer free daily math practice problems. Students can complete ten free questions (in each subject) per day and grow their math skills. The subscription membership includes unlimited practice questions, analytics, certificates, and personalized skill recommendations.

What teachers love: If a student gets a problem incorrect, the program shows all the steps to complete the problem so they can see where they went wrong and learn from their mistakes.

  1. Math is Fun
    Just as the name implies, Math is Fun aims to make math enjoyable and entertaining. The site uses puzzles, games, quizzes, worksheets, and a forum to help guide students through their learning.

What teachers love: The problems and solutions are all explained in simple language, making it easier for students to learn on their own without the necessity of an adult or teacher to “translate.”

  1. Quizlet
    Quizlet is a website and app that teaches all kinds of things through digital cards. On this app students can learn through flash cards, matching cards, short term memorization cards, long term memorization cards, etc. Students or teachers can use premade card decks or make their own custom decks. This app is free and available on any platform.

Grade levels: K-12

  1. Wolfram MathWorld
    MathWorld is a free online resource for everything related to mathematics. The site includes interactive GIFs and demonstrations, downloadable notebooks, and “capsule summaries” for various math terms. Students can explore more than 13,000 entries to strengthen their math foundation and build up their understanding.

What teachers love: The site allows older and more advanced students to really dig deep into mathematics, with topics and articles in several different math-related subjects for a variety of background and ability levels.

  1. Art of Problem Solving
    With the Art of Problem Solving, students have three different avenues to get help and resources related to math. The Online School is a gateway for students to enroll in additional math classes and AoPS’ Bookstore offers challenging, in-depth textbooks so students can further explore the subject.

What teachers love: Students can challenge themselves to dig deeper into the math subjects they find fascinating through moderated message boards, games, and articles.

Grade levels: 2-12

  1. Desmos
    Desmos is a free online graphing calculator that students can use to graph functions, plot data and evaluate equations. The site also includes math examples and even creative art—so students can get the most out of the calculator.

What teachers love: The website and program are extremely user-friendly, with an extensive help center; and with Desmos, families don’t have to worry about purchasing a pricey graphing calculator.

Grade levels: 6-12; secondary

  1. Prodigy Math Game
    This game aims to teach through the game instead of outright basic learning math, and still give your student/child the math education they need. This game allows for great progress tracking, as teachers or parents check the questions their student or child is having trouble with, track how they’re doing alongside their peers, adjust grade level, set goals, access video lessons, and more. This game has basic, free features, or you can buy an upgraded version for $6.25-$8.33 per month.
  2. Math Playground
    This app aims to make learning fun for students, teaching mainly through games–such as puzzles, animals, painting, and more. Math Playground targets students from Kindergarten all the way through 6th grade. Math Playground is free and available on any platform with a search engine.
  3. edX
    At edX, students can access over 3,500 free courses–these courses come out of prestigious colleges, such as Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, Cornell, Dartmouth and other smaller colleges as well. edX can be a great place to learn math for students grade 6-12.
  4. ABC Mouse
    ABC Mouse is one of the most popular and exemplary learning apps out there. With 10,000+ activities and mobile learning, this app makes for great online learning. ABC Mouse teaches reading, math, counting, science, and more. This app targets children 2-8 years old is a great place to start teaching a student/child math.
  5. Adventure Academy
    Adventure Academy is a learning resource that can teach students all kinds of stuff. Featuring 4000+ activities, mobile learning, and progress tracking, this app can make students forget they’re even learning. Adventure Academy teaches lots of subjects–reading, math, science, social studies, and more. Targeting students 8-13, this app brings an innovative game-like feel to learning.
  6. Mathplanet
    Math planet is an online resource where one can study math for free. Students can take their high school math courses in Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry. They have also prepared practice tests for the SAT and ACT.

The educational material is focused on US high school math. However, since math is the same all over the world, Mathplanet welcome everybody to study math with them, for free.

  1. Illustrative Mathematics
    Illustrative Mathematics math is a problem-based core curriculum designed to address content and practice standards to foster learning for all. Students learn by doing math, solving problems in mathematical and real-world contexts, and constructing arguments using precise language. Teachers can shift their instruction and facilitate student learning with high-leverage routines to guide learners to understand and make connections between concepts and procedures.

Grade levels: 6-8

  1. Adapted Mind
    Grade levels: K-5

15 Apps & Websites For Teaching Math Online

best practices for teaching math online

Now more than ever, teaching is a mix-and-match proposition as K–12 teachers have been pushed to come up with new ways to engage students during distance and hybrid learning. To leverage experience from teaching in traditional classrooms and meet the demands of online learning, educators are exploring different models, as well as ideas from outside their own disciplines.

Adam Lavallee, a math and economics teacher who was already teaching online classes before the pandemic hit, has thought long and hard about the opportunities presented by distance learning. As he explains in an article for Global Online Academy, teachers can work to create an “engaging online course with a robust community of learners that allows for student choice, timely feedback, content coverage, and student mastery.”

Lavallee recommends that teachers make several shifts when planning math instruction—most of which, with a little more tinkering, are relevant to other subjects. These shifts can be made gradually, so as not to be overwhelming: “Consider these shifts carefully and focus on the work most relevant to your students and your context,” Lavallee suggests.

Distance learning demands that teachers think very intentionally about which concepts students need to master. The reality is, mastery isn’t always what’s necessary for a particular concept; rather, observation or even just exposure may be sufficient to spark curiosity and wonder.

For Lavallee, matrices and the application of Cramer’s rule in Algebra 2 are non-essential and can be eliminated from the curriculum; completing the square to derive the quadratic equation is something students should observe; a few fundamental concepts within logarithms should be mastered; and functions are a must-have, to the point where students should both master and reflect on them.

If you shift content delivery to asynchronous instruction, as with self-made, on-demand videos, you free up synchronous time to collaborate with students and work through example problems and address misconceptions.

With on-demand instruction, Lavallee suggests, “The key strategy is a structure where students know their objectives, and they have the ability to check for their own understanding along the way.” With that strategy in place, you have created a basis for self-paced learning.

“Eliminate ‘homework,’ and just call it learning,” Lavallee suggests, adding that incentivizing students to practice working with concepts is what matters. You might also consider moving away from the easy-to-hard paradigm to make the practice more about reflecting. “Assess students not on their first draft of homework or their final product, but on their revisions and reflections,” he says. “Let them see the final solutions, then focus on, assess, and incentivize the revision process.”

There are also a host of apps that make math practice engaging and enjoyable, particularly for elementary and middle schoolers.

Lavallee notes that “teachers need to intentionally design for interaction in online formats and create structures that empower student voices.” One strategy for empowering student voice that Lavallee learned from a peer is to have students imagine that they have a partner who doesn’t understand a problem and then make a video explaining how to do it: The work of creating the video pushes students to deepen their understanding, and the teacher can use the videos for formative assessment. As a bonus, if any students are still struggling with the problem, their peers’ videos can be a valuable resource.

You can also infuse your instruction with assignments that rely on more complex collaborative work (say storyboarding and multimedia), and use online breakout rooms as a place for students to engage in meaningful math discussions among themselves or with you in order to build confidence in their voices and perspectives.

A three-fold approach to summative assessment works well online, Lavallee writes. Consider incorporating:

Automated assessments for conceptual understanding—e.g., a set of multiple choice questions that students can complete in 15 minutes;
Oral exams, where students take 5–10 minutes to walk you through a solution to a multistep problem; and
A culminating project for each unit—e.g., students choose and present an authentic, contextualized application.
With both oral exams and culminating projects, consider how student choice can further enrich your students’ experiences and understanding—that approach can make students more engaged and result in a deeper, more authentic understanding of the content.


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