I’ve always felt like it was hard to find good math resources online. Sure, if you want a worksheet, your options are nearly limitless, but when you want a worthwhile, free, standards-based supplement for your curriculum, it’s sometimes hard to find. I’d like to add a disclaimer before I go on. In the 2019-2020 school year, every SUSD student should receive rigorous tier one instruction that maintains the integrity of our newly adopted curriculum. Since most of us are new to this material, I believe we should do our best to use what is provided by the publisher. All of the websites I’m including in this post should be considered a teacher resource. For example, Khan Academy can be used by adults to deepen their understanding. It should not replace instruction.
Recently, someone shared an article with me that I found to be very helpful. In this link are over 60 websites for teaching and learning math. I’d like to share the ones that are free for teachers and (in my opinion) will be most useful for Stockton Unified School District staff. I’m also throwing in a few that are not on the list.
My long-time favorite has to be Khan Academy. With video tutorial content that can be assigned by the teacher to individuals or the entire class that are standards-aligned, this resource works great for a flipped classroom, as an intervention, or for acceleration. Students can access all content (not just what is assigned) at any time, using almost any device. There is even a version for preschoolers now called Khan Academy Kids. Math content goes all the way up through college level courses and can be customized to follow grade level standards or align to PSAT and SAT needs. Another website that offers something similar is Freckle. It has a diagnostic and customizes practice to meet student needs. A third option is Moby Max. This website has a paid version that provides more features. Even more sites that deliver something of this type include Math Help and Splash Math.
In the past, I’ve seen how the Chromebooks can become babysitters while kids play on websites like Cool Math Games, Fun Brain, Sheppard Software or Math Game Time. If I’m being honest, even Prodigy Game is more game than it is learning. That’s not to say that these don’t have a place in the classroom at all. In my opinion, they should be relegated to rainy day recess activities because they are games. Another option would be to tell students to play these games for homework. If we assign specific practice that students actually need, they’d get more out of these programs and they’d probably be more likely to do their homework if it involved playing a game instead of completing a worksheet. One website that goes a little bit further than just providing games is Math Playground. In addition to having games, it also has logic puzzles, instructional videos, and a “Story Math” section that models word problems with step-by-step solutions.
If you’re interested in playing math-themed music videos for your students, Flocabulary and Numberock have free songs that kids enjoy. If you want a neat site for online fluency practice, Xtramath might be what you are looking for. Many of the websites I’ve listed provide a variety of resources in addition to the pieces I’ve mentioned and I encourage you to click on the links and explore the features to see what might be beneficial. The next few links provide what I think are great activities to get your students thinking about math in new and different ways. At Which One Doesn’t Belong, classes can get into some amazing math dialogue about which one doesn’t belong. KenKen puzzles are what I would call the next level of Sudoku, and require students to use number sense and mathematical operations to solve a puzzle. It doesn’t have the strongest math problems, but Free rice does give students the chance to fight hunger while they practice math facts because it donates rice with every correct answer.
This section is dedicated to middle and high school math teachers. I haven’t recently met a single subject math teacher who didn’t already know about Desmos, but if you’re new to the profession, or you somehow missed it, Desmos provides a free online graphing calculator with many features. In addition, at Teacher Desmos you can find a myriad of activities to use with students. You’ll want to get comfortable with Desmos if you’re teaching high school math in SUSD next year because it is embedded in many of the Pearson enVision lessons. A different website that also has a graphing calculator is Geogebra. This site also has 3-D math features and worksheets. A third reference for high school teachers is Shodor. This site provides interactive activities for students in grades 3 through undergraduate level.
More resources for teachers can be found at Illuminations. This is the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics page, and it contains lesson plans, games, activities, and brain teasers from a very reputable source. The same organization has another site, Figure This, with games, family practice, and challenges in English and Spanish for the middle grades. Another source for middle grades is PBS Learning Media. Here, you can find culturally relevant video logs that are added to regularly. The website Greg Tang Math is helpful because it offers a variety of resources for both student and teacher learning. Like many other pages, it has games, worksheets, and student lessons, but unlike others, it also provides teacher professional development and center activities (be aware that some are not free).
Finally, one last resource that I have found to be helpful over the years, is Natural Library of Virtual Manipulatives. Here, you will find virtual manipulatives for just about every math concept from pre-K through twelfth grade. The site is clearly organized by math strand and by grade. Unfortunately, there may be issues with Java, depending on which device you are using to access the website. However, if you are able to use these virtual manipulatives with students, they can be very powerful and are a free alternative to purchasing physical manipulatives for your class. If you’ve read this far, I hope you came across at least one resource that will support student learning.