Online math tools can change a student’s life. They can be a huge help by supplementing a classroom curriculum and helping a student understand difficult concepts they otherwise would not. With that being said, going through the search to find math tools can be time consuming and daunting. So I created this list to share with you great free online tools I have found around the Internet to use as a student or as a teacher.
Online Math Tools for Students in College
Students at junior colleges, colleges, and universities all take some form of mathematics courses during their schooling. Many take several, devoting a significant portion of their academic journey to the study of math.
Whether taking math as a part of a college major or minor or to fulfill general education requirements, the following online resources can help.
Interactive Online Math Tools
Desmos offers a variety of interactive online math tools for college students. Each tool can help students practically work through their math problems.
- Subjects: Online tools on Desmos include:
- Intended learning levels: Desmos provides tools for college students at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: Desmos is free.
MathFortress.com offers a variety of math tutorials for college students.
- Subjects: com offers tutorials on subject areas such as algebra I, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, calculus I, calculus II, calculus III, linear algebra, differential equations, and GRE prep.
- Intended learning levels: com offers content for college students at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: Resources and online math tools for students are free, although students can purchase access to videos without advertisements for $10.
Wolfram|Alpha can help students with their college homework, allowing them to work through diverse topics and mathematical problems.
- Subjects: Students can get help with algebra, calculus and analysis, geometry, plotting and graphics, differential equations, trigonometry, linear algebra, number theory, mathematical functions, statistics, probability, and more.
- Intended learning levels: Wolfram|Alpha offers tools for college students at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: Students can use a free account by creating a login. They can upgrade by paying $4.75 per month to get enhanced features that provide step-by-step solutions or $7.99 per month for access to all features.
Downloadable Math Applications
College students can download the following math application to help them better understand different mathematical concepts:
- Math Ref This app provides tools such as a unit converter, quadratic solver, and triangle solver to help students with a wide range of math calculations, with a cost of $1.99.
- iMathematics™ Pro This app provides students with clear explanations of solutions for over 70 math topics by using the Advanced Calculator, the Fraction Approximator, and the Equation Solver. The app costs $2.99.
- MyScript Calculator This app allows students to write out math equations by hand and provides a result immediately. Students can transfer their solutions and view their full history later. The app costs $2.99.
Additional Resources for College Math Students
Dyscalculia.org offers a handful of further college resources.
Varsity Tutors offers one-on-one interaction with a tutor to help college math students improve their math skills.
Online Math Tools for Students in High School
Taking math courses throughout high school is required, so students who struggle with mathematics may have difficulty. While some high school students may be able to receive additional help from their math teachers, others may need online resources and math tools.
Interactive Online Math Tools
GeoGebra offers over 1,700 online resources for high school students to practice math concepts and prepare for tests.
- Subjects: GeoGebra’s offerings include activities for algebra I, geometry, functions, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics.
- Intended learning levels: GeoGebra offers resources for high school students at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: GeoGebra is free.
PhET offers 42 interactive tools to help students master high school math concepts.
- Subjects: PhET’s tools cover introductory topics such as computing area, managing fractions, and graphing equations through advanced subjects like curve fitting, calculus graphing, and building functions.
- Intended learning levels: PhET offers resources for high school students at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: PhET is free.
Virtual Nerd provides high-quality, easy-to-follow video tutorials on a wide variety of math concepts.
- Subjects: Virtual Nerd’s videos present key concepts in depth, covering pre-algebra, algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2.
- Intended learning levels: Virtual Nerd offers videos for high school students at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: Virtual Nerd is free.
Downloadable Math Applications
High school students can download the following free math applications to help them better understand different mathematical concepts:
- Big Simple Talking Calculator This app provides students with a full-screen, intuitive tool that they can interact with as they solve calculations and math equations.
- National Library of Virtual Manipulatives This app allows students in grades 9-12 to choose from a variety of virtual manipulatives covering topics such as numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability.
- Photomath — Scan. Solve. Learn. This app allows students to use the cameras on their mobile devices to scan, read, and help solve mathematical problems.
- Shapes 3D This app helps high school students gain a better understanding of geography concepts as they work with three-dimensional shapes and objects.
Resources for High School Math Students
- The Universal Design for Learning Tech Toolkit provides a wide variety of online math tools for high school students.
- Online Math Tools provides an extensive collection of simple utilities and tools that can help high school students with math, from adding matrices to generating Fibonacci sequences.
- We Are Teachers offers a list of more than 60 websites and downloadable applications that can help students receive the math assistance they need to be successful in high school.
- Common Sense Education provides access to several tools, such as sites with math video tutorials.
- Education World offers Free Online Math Tools for High School You Haven’t Heard Of, but Should Totally Be Using.
- Students can find additional math applications and websites at TeachThought.
Online Math Tools for Students in Middle School
Establishing a strong foundation in math during middle school is key to succeeding in higher education. While some middle school students may receive additional help from their math teachers, others may need to consider online resources.
Interactive Online Math Tools
Buzzmath is targeted toward helping middle school students develop and strengthen their math skills.
- Subjects: Buzzmath offers problems for sixth grade students covering arithmetic to algebraic expressions, surface area and volume, multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions, and much more.
- Seventh grade students can practice skills related to properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions; real-life and mathematical problems involving angle measure, area, surface area, and volume; and more.
- Tools for eighth graders build upon previous skills, working on radicals and integer exponents; proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations; functions; the Pythagorean theorem; and more.
- Intended learning levels: Middle school students at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: After a free trial, students interested in continuing pay a monthly subscription fee.
- Subjects: Math Is Fun provides resources in fields including geometry, numbers, money, algebra, calculus, and measurement; it also includes a math index and a math dictionary.
- Intended learning levels: Math Is Fun covers middle school students at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Cost: Math Is Fun is a free tool.
Downloadable Math Applications
Middle school students can download the following math applications to help them practice different mathematical concepts:
- MathBoard TV This app helps middle school students work through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems in a variety of ways, while not relying on the same answer style. It costs $4.99.
- Brainscape — Smart Flashcards This app is free and allows students to test their knowledge of math problems or equations through flashcard repetition when they are preparing for quizzes and tests.
- Geometry Pad Middle school students beginning to develop a foundation in geometry can use this free app to create basic geometrical shapes and calculate the metrics of the shapes.
Resources for Middle School Math Students
- Teach.com provides a wide variety of math apps for middle school students.
- Common Sense Education provides an extensive collection of simple utilities and tools that can help middle school students with math.
- Prodigy offers a list of 14 websites that can help students receive the math assistance they need to succeed in middle school.
Online Math Tools for Students with Special Needs
While students may be able to quickly learn and understand other subjects, some have difficulty with mathematics. Since math is a cumulative discipline, each lesson builds on the previous one. If students don’t understand the concepts presented in their first few math classes, they may be lost and confused throughout the entire school year.
In particular, students with special needs may require extra help or specific accommodation throughout their academic careers.
Interactive Online Math Tools
Students who struggle with math or who have special needs can use the following resources and online math tools for students:
Dyscalculia.org offers academic tutoring and advising services for K-12 students with math learning disabilities. Students can be tested for learning disabilities to identify how their teachers and parents can better assist them.
- Subjects: The website covers MLD+ADHD, math anxiety, math dyslexia, math therapy, number sense, home strategies, and school accommodation.
- Intended learning levels: org covers students in K-12 school settings.
- Cost: Math therapy worksheets are free, and parents can pay for services from phone consultations to IEP preparation.
FX Draw is software that students with learning or physical disabilities can use to better understand and express mathematical concepts.
- Subjects: The site allows students to draw out equations so they can visualize math problems. Tools include math notation, a graphing calculator, and a drawing tool for 3D plots.
- Intended learning levels: Students in K-12 school settings
- Cost: Free to all students whose disabilities make math materials difficult to produce.
Downloadable Math Applications
These downloadable math applications can be particularly helpful for students who struggle with mathematics:
- ModMath – This free app is designed to help students who struggle with mathematical notation. The app allows students to write out and solve math problems ranging from basic to algebraic equations.
- Dexteria Dots 2: Fine Motor For students who are struggling with their motor skills and mathematics, this app offers a unique approach to helping students identify numbers, colors, and sizes. The app costs $2.99.
Resources and Online Math Tools
- Math Geek Mama provides a collection of free online math manipulatives for students with math learning disabilities who are participating in at-home learning.
- Understood.org helps parents understand what assistive technology is and how it can help their children with learning disabilities.
How Online Tools Open the World of Mathematics to Students
Every student has unique academic strengths and interests. Regardless of what they are passionate about, however, a strong foundation in mathematics is crucial, from elementary school through college.
Students who need more than what their teachers and professors can offer can benefit from an array of online resources. Online math tools can open the world of mathematics to students who may be struggling, providing an additional layer of support.
MATH SKILLS PRACTICE
A number of math apps and online tools can help students develop the necessary foundational understanding of arithmetic operations they’ll need as a baseline for more challenging math problems later on, math teachers told us.
To help younger students practice skills like counting, addition, and subtraction, Ashley Blackwelder, an elementary STEAM coordinator in South Carolina, highly recommends Moose Math, a free app for iPhones and iPads. In Moose Math, students play math games that earn them points to help build a town. Blackwelder says the format is easy for kids to navigate and great for short attention spans.
Curriculum and instructional designer Cassie Tabrizi recommended Happy Numbers (pre-K–grade 5), a subscription-based website ($14.50 per student or $1,450 per site for first-time schools) that breaks down mathematical equations to help students build understanding of higher-order math concepts. To use it, students transform into a dinosaur character and solve math problems to hatch dinosaur eggs. Tabrizi said that the website is helpful, but she recommends using it in moderation: It can feel tedious for students if they practice longer than 10 minutes a day.
Students fight monsters in the persona of a wizard in Prodigy (grades 1–8), a free game-based website (also available as an app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android). Prodigy is loved by kids, but less so by educators because it is more play based. Brittney Paige, a fifth-grade teacher in Seattle, says that even though it is more of a game, she likes that it automatically targets math concepts that students struggled with in its preassessment and tracks how much progress they make on target areas. Most teachers offer Prodigy as an option for students if they finish an assignment early.
Courtesy of ProdigyAfter successfully answering a math problem, a student’s pet casts a spell in a battle.
Zearn (grades 1–5), a free, self-paced, web-based program aligned with Eureka Math—a free pre-K through 12 math curriculum—starts a typical lesson with fun warm-up activities, like adding up how many apples a cartoon fox eats, to engage students. As they work through the program, students complete timed arithmetic problems, watch instructional videos on new concepts, and solve practice problems. Shannon McGrath, an instructional coach in Western Springs, Illinois, says that Zearn is good “high-level, conceptual practice” and gives good feedback for both teachers and students, but can sometimes progress too slowly for kids who master concepts quickly.
OPEN MATH TASKS
Open math tasks—problems that typically have more than one answer—help students develop a conceptual understanding of math rather than get hung up on memorizing facts, said math educators we talked to, who consistently mentioned three free websites to use for open math tasks.
Open Middle (pre-K–grade 12) leaves parts of an equation blank and asks students to fill them in to make it true. “I love Open Middle for remote learning, especially paired with a Google Jamboard,” says McGrath. “The problems inspire inquiry thinking, gamelike play, creativity, and perseverance.”
Courtesy of Mary Bourassa/Which One Doesn’t BelongUsing “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” Mary Bourassa’s calculus students make a mathematical argument why each graph is the odd one out.
McGrath also likes Would You Rather Math (pre-K–grade 12) for community building. When using the site, students choose between two real-life examples—like a box of chocolates with five rows and 14 columns or a box of chocolates with seven rows and nine columns—and have to make a mathematical argument to validate their choice.
Which One Doesn’t Belong? (pre-K–grade 12), a similar site, showcases four shapes, numbers, or graphs and asks students to describe which one doesn’t belong, using math vocabulary. “This is great for opening a synchronous discussion, as it is considered a low-floor, high-ceiling task,” says Joseph Manfre, a math specialist for the Hawaii Department of Education. High school math teacher Mary Bourassa has her calculus students identify reasons why each graph in a set of four doesn’t belong by indicating graph characteristics like asymptotes and non-differentiable points, and later has her students create their own WODB sets.
RICH MATH TASKS
For rich math tasks—tasks that lend themselves to rigor, collaboration, and conceptual thinking—math educators noted a couple of websites.
Courtesy of Bryan Penfound/Fraction TalksStudents use this image from Fraction Talks to practice adding and multiplying fractions. The bottom corner section represents ½ x ¼ = ⅛.
Fraction Talks (grades 1–12) is a website filled with images of shapes—triangles within triangles, for example—that encourages math discussions. Simply asking students, “What do you observe?” can prompt them to share what and how many shapes they notice, while asking “How many shapes are red or shaded?” encourages students to explore and understand fractions. Once students have a basic understanding of fractions, they can start to explore more complex concepts. By prompting students to look at subsections of a shape—and what fractions they created when combined—Bryan Penfound helped his seventh- and eighth-grade students to visualize adding and multiplying fractions.
Visual Patterns (K–grade 12) shows the beginning of a pattern—like several boxes in a grid—then asks students to figure out the equation to fit the pattern. “Even though there is only one answer,” says Manfre, “you can ask deeper questions with these kinds of tasks, and engage students with mathematics in its more natural, visual form.”
Courtesy of Visual PatternsStudents need to identify the equation for this pattern.
According to math teachers, simulations, like manipulating an expression and seeing a change in a graph, are great tools to help students visualize math concepts.
Courtesy of Ashley TaplinAshley Taplin, a secondary math specialist, had her students graph how they felt during the first week of distance learning.
Applets—a simple code with a specific objective—were mentioned by a few teachers as a good resource. Emma Chiappetta’s statistics students use applets from RossmanChance.com to manipulate and identify sampling distribution patterns in graphs, for example. She creates a basic guide on how to use the applet with which values to change, and then asks questions to get students thinking critically about those patterns. Chiappetta also uses applets from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her linear algebra students.
Desmos (grades 6–12), a website with interactive math activities and a graphing calculator (also available as an app on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android), is another free tool and a favorite among teachers, we heard. While social and emotional learning (SEL) and math may not seem to go hand in hand, teachers integrated SEL into math lessons using Desmos. In the first week of distance learning, Ashley Taplin, a secondary math specialist in San Antonio, Texas, had her students graph how they were feeling, for example. Taplin says she particularly loves that teachers can make their own activities—like this one about parabolas and this card sort, where students match cards with the name, corresponding equation, and correct graphical representation of a function.
Students today need to solve mathematical problems for many different reasons. They need to know how to work with numbers, fractions, decimals and percentages. To be able to work with these you will need the help of some free online math tools. These tools will help your child with their homework and can even help them grow in math faster than just studying the class book.