FREE Virtual Math Manipulatives for Chromebook and Computer Users

FREE Virtual Math Manipulatives for Chromebook and Computer Users

FREE Virtual Math Manipulatives for Chromebook and Computer Users

Base ten blocks, spinners, geoboards, fraction circles...These are all types of math manipulatives that teachers have readily available to help teach mathematical problem solving and reasoning. These physical objects help engage our learners through a hands-on approach. I love any and all hands-on activities.

However, these physical objects come with a price tag. They also require clean up time and a little detective work. You know, where have all of the purple bear counters disappeared to? 

Once again, I love any and all hand-on activities. But I also love virtual manipulatives. Just to clarify, virtual manipulatives are different from interactives. Virtual manipulatives are open ended and do not prompt students to answer certain questions. YOU, the teacher, get to decide on the problems students answer using the manipulatives. YOU also can give students the opportunity to form their own mathematical problems using virtual manipulative representations. I like how these tools give students the ability to create mathematical representations and then write or type their thinking all on the same canvas. They even can save their work to their device to share with YOU and their peers.

Dreambox published THIS article that discusses how virtual manipulatives have "unique characteristics that go beyond the capabilities of physical manipulatives."

There are lots of iPad apps for math manipulatives (ex. Schoolkit Math). Some of the web tools mentioned below come in the form of iPad apps. But let's take a look at a few FREE web tools for our Chromebook/computer users.

Glencoe Math

One of my FAVORITE virtual manipulatives websites is Glencoe Math by McGraw Hill. I posted this quick little video on my Facebook page and Instagram account that got some action:

There are TONS of different manipulatives and story boards for PreK-8th grade.

This was created from a work mat & manipulative combination

Toy Theater

Toy Theater has a wonderful bank of virtual manipulatives with lots of options.

McGraw Hill

McGraw Hill has another small selection of virtual manipulatives.

Students can select to show a notepad that they can type in number sentences and various types of math problems.

The Math Learning Center

The Math Learning Center has web apps (these also are availble as iPad apps and Chrome extensions) that are fabulous.

Example from the Number Line Tool

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

iTools has several easy to use math manipulatives for a variety of grade levels:

Taking it a Step Further:

Since virtual manipulatives give students the ability to save their work (you can always take screenshots if the app/website doesn't have a "save" option), have them take it a step further by sharing their work with one another. By engaging in collaborative learning, students are exposed to a variety of different ways of thinking. We all know there isn't just one way to solve a problem! Regardless of the type of device students use they can share their canvas by posting it to Google Classroom, Seesaw, a virtual wall (Padlet, BoardThing, Dotstorming), make a video to post to Flipgrid, add to a collaborative Google Slides presentation, upload to their blog/website, etc.. They could even add their creations to a digital notebook to document their learning throughout the year.

Like everything else we do, balance it key. Switch it up! Keep students engaged by using hands-on manipulatives one day and virtual manipulatives another day. 

Follow me on Pinterest to get more techie ideas: