Teaching Math Using Technology

The following posting is written by David Moss. David was an elementary teacher who is working on his master’s degree in mathematics education. He is interested in finding ways to effectively support students to learn math by integrating technology. (Note- Scroll down to bottom of the page for additional links and resources).

Technology is becoming more prominent in today’s classrooms.  Students use computers, tablets, and smart boards while learning.  In mathematics, these tools can be very useful for teachers in engaging students with new material and lessons.  Online websites offer teachers a variety of lesson plans and virtual manipulatives.  With so many options though, it is hard to find the good sites that teachers can use.

According to ((Moyer, Bolyard & Spikell, 2002) “virtual manipulative is best defined as an interactive, web-based visual representation of a dynamic object that presents opportunities for constructing mathematical knowledge.”  While concrete manipulatives are still relevant for uses in classrooms, virtual manipulatives add to the learning experience.  Virtual manipulatives give students prompts, feedback, and answers to problems while working on problems letting the students use more self-exploration.  Having an internet connection at home is helpful to both the student and parents while out of the classroom while working on mathematics.

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is a site with many virtual manipulatives. The site is organized into five mathematical categories (Numbers and operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, and probability) and by different grade levels. A special feature of the NLVM is that teachers can use the eNLVM to enhance lessons.  The eModules are interactive online units include lesson plans, online activities, and online assessments based on state and national standards.  Teachers can use the tracking tools that allow students to submit work and answers that they have worked on, and the teacher can view the class summaries as well as an individual students answers. Teachers are also able to change lessons and activities for their students’ needs.  This includes modifying, creating, reorganizing, and deleting activities, instructions, and questions. Teachers are also able to share materials with others to collaborate in developing them.

Using technology to get students engaged in a mathematical lesson can be done with a cartoon television sitcom.  The Simpsons have a lot of mathematics references from arithmetic to calculus. Much of it is written to have inside jokes with those who understand different levels of mathematics.  Simpsonmath.com offers where to find the mathematics references in episodes, transcripts for the mathematical reference, explanations for the inside math jokes, and activity sheets.

There are many websites that teachers can use for engaging and enhancing learning in a classroom and for students own practice at home. A+ Click helps students of all grade levels practice problem-solving skills and to use creative thinking. Math Pickle gives teachers a way to play mathematical games, solve puzzles, and have math competitions in their classroom. For teachers, Education World offers professional development, lesson plans, and resources. Super Kids offers worksheets, games, and “brain food” for students. These are just a few of many websites that can be used.

Smart boards in classrooms are the new whiteboard and give teachers a great way to present websites and virtual manipulatives to the whole class, groups, or individuals. Smartboards support interactive learning to students.  They promote student interest, more sustained concentration, and more effective learning (Miller).  Smartboards have the potential to make manipulatives

The Prentice School Educational Assistive Tech...

The Prentice School Educational Assistive Technology Classroom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

more accessible to large groups of children, and to use the shared learning experience within the classroom to further enrich students’ learning” (Mildenhall, Swan, Northcote & Marshall, 2008).

With the increase of technology, students and teachers can take advantage of these on their tablets, computers, and smart boards.  Virtual and concrete manipulatives reinforce mathematical concepts separately but a combination of both is the best way to achieve the best results (Burns & Hamm, 2011).  Websites can offer the engagement to lessons and the use of virtual manipulatives through technology creates “the opportunity to make meaning and see relationships as a result of one’s own actions” (Moyer et. al., 2002).


Moyer, P. S., Bolyard, J. J., & Spikell, M. A. (2002). What are virtual manipulatives?. Teaching Children Mathematics, 8, 372-377.

Burns, B. A., & Hamm, E. M. (2011). A comparison of concrete and virtual manipulative use in third- and fourth-grade mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 111(6), 256-261. doi: 10.1111/j.1949-8594.2011.00086.x

Mildenhall, P., Swan, P., Northcote, M., & Marshall, L. (2008). Virtual manipulatives on the interactive whiteboard: a preliminary investigation. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 13(1), 9-14.



Mary Mathews,  a student teacher at the University of Nevada, taught a math lesson using an interactive board template. She figured out how to take a regular word document and turn it into a template to write on in the interactive whiteboard.  She also discovered the following teacher created webpage where templates were already created by teachers.  So, I asked her to share how she did this and where she found the resource.

Using an ActivBoard throughout your math instruction is a great way to engage your students and enhance your learning environment. If you are looking to pull up a document that you can write on during your instruction, follow these 5 steps.

1. Save your document as a PDF. If your document is not a PDF you need to re-save it as a PDF. 
2. After you have your document in PDF form, save it somewhere you can find it easily such as your desktop.
3. Open your ActivBoard, in the top left corner open file. Click on the option import PDF.
4. Next click on the desktop option and find your PDF that you saved.
5. Finally click on import and your document will pull up onto your ActivBoard. 
A great resource that contains a variety of activities for students can be found on the following website. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/
The great thing about this website is that all their materials are already in PDF form so you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to save it as a PDF. Many of the materials are very creative and engaging and work great for an ActivBoard. The activities range across all subjects and grade levels. 
-Mary Mathews

ADDITIONAL MATH WEBSITES (These websites have multiple topics)

IXL Math – practice games

Annenberg Learner


Behavior Management Tool – Dojo




interactive math wickispaces-3D shape


Sheppard software.com

Dan Meyer blog-contains video problem context

A collection of high quality math games (We are teachers.com)



Ryan Doetch created website for Interactive White Board

Interactive whiteboard free teacher tools-has tools for different topics


Number line boxes, Number line Jump Maker

Thinking Blocks: addition and subtraction

Base Block Addition


Algebra Touch

10 x 10 GRID

Teach mathematics Algebra virtual manipulatives


Data sets that can be analyzed

Create a Graph

Graphing Stories- videos


Fractions-IXL (Fraction bars)

Fraction- number line

Fraction Game with Number line- Illuminations

Fractions number and bars together

Equivalent Fractions- Illuminations

Fraction Websites

Create Fraction bars- math playground

Fraction and Decimal Grid

Fraction and Decimal tool- Illuminations



Isometric drawing tool-build 3d figure-illuminations

Geometry Math Games

Geometry website created by Cindy Fourbert,the Lemelon STEM cohort UNR.

Symmetry and Rotational symmetry

3D Shapes

Kids Math Play Geometry

Geometry Games- Hooda math

4th Dimension- time video explanation



Interactive-3D shapes


National Virtual Manipulatives- Measurement



Slope Creator Remix


ATLTGames – The lost function (pre-algebra)


YOUTUBE videos

Motion Geometry: Rotations, Reflections and Translations






11 responses

  1. […] via Teaching Math Using Technology | Whole Class Mathematics Discussions. […]

  2. […] Teaching Math using Technology […]

  3. 2. I am really enjoying reading your posts – especially grade 6 maths that you are making to your own experience with students! Developing deep understanding of maths while considering the brain of a child is really a complex endeavor. With the help of this plan, a student will definitely get a better exposure and engage themselves in solving them.

  4. […] Teaching Math Using Technology. (2013, March 10). Retrieved July 31, 2015, from https://mathdiscussions.wordpress.com/teaching-math-using-technology/ […]

  5. There aren’t a lot of quality resources out there and its not always clear what is in the budget. But I found one teacher who had made a bunch of MUSIC VIDEOS for each of the current standards in his 5th grade classroom and made them available on YOUTUBE for anybody to use freely. Link Here: https://goo.gl/lR1yfD

  6. […] described on a blog called Math Discussions, an elementary teacher by the name of David Moss wrote a posting considering what virtual […]

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