Tech Tools for Math Class

Below is a post I wrote for the blog portion of the Siemen’s STEM Academy website.  The site is filled with lots of great, free, STEM resources for educators, including lesson ideas and archived webinars.  I hope you can find a use for this great information in your classroom!


It’s the new school year.  You have that new projector and touch board, or maybe you have new tablets for your students.  It’s time to get interactive with your math lessons.  So, what to use to get your students to experience mathematics, and move away from worksheet math?

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics continues to add applets useful for grades K-12 in its NCTM Illuminations resources area.  The applets run on Flash and include:

  • Algebra Tiles – build, manipulate, and evaluate algebraic models
  • Fraction Models – sliders allow you to explore multiple representations for fractions, decimals and percents.
  • Factorize – explore numeric factors and their relationship to length and width

NCTM has also added a new area of downloadable Common Core Math Tools, which require java to run.  Sample lessons and how-to pages are included to get you started.  In the iTunes store, NCTM has also provided free apps geared towards elementary grades:  Pick-a-Path,  Okta’s Rescue, and Math Concentration.

Desmos Online Calculator – a favorite of mine, a tool I have posted about before, and its care-takers continue to seek your feedback to make this graphing utility better!  It has a fast, simple interface, and you can find maximums, minimums, and points of intersection with a single click.  This tool is ideal for class presentations.  A free registration allows you to save your documents.  Runs great on the iPad!

GeoGebra – a simple tool for interactive geometry, constructions, and measurements, but can provide tables and graphs for algebra class as well.  Works as a java applet, but can also be downloaded as a stand-alone program.  The caretakers are working towards an iPad app.

Sketchpad Explorer – an old favorite, the Geometer’s Sketchpad, moves to the iPad with this free app, available through iTunes.  Students can tap, drag and play with interactive sketches which come loaded with the app, or link to your iTunes store account and upload your own creations to share.

Interactivate – from Shodor, this ever-evolving collection of Java-based courseware has something for all math classes.  Learn about estimation through a virtual model of a forest fire, search for patterns in the multiples of Pascal’s Triangle, or investigate the Mandelbrot Set.


By Bob Lochel

HS Math Teacher. Hatboro-Horsham School District, Horsham, PA.

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