Whether we are teaching virtually or enforcing social distancing in our classroom, our students are going to need math manipulatives in class. Especially if you teach students with learning disabilities in math or students who struggle with math.
When should I use virtual math manipulatives
At the secondary level, the most popular way to use virtual math manipulatives is with algebra tiles. You can use virtual algebra tiles to:
Combine like terms
Add and subtract polynomials
Factor quadratic equations
Complete the square for quadratic equations
I’m sure there are many more uses, but these are the ways I use Algebra tiles in my classroom with students who struggle, english language learners in math, and students with learning disabilities in math with great success.
List of virtual math manipulatives
#1) Didax virtual manipulatives
Didax offers 19 free virtual math manipulatives on their website. Yup. NINETEEN. If you’re an elementary math teacher, there’s A LOT here for you! And if you’re a grade 6-12 math teacher, the ones I suggest are the two color counters, dice, spinners, and virtual algebra tiles. Two color counters for reviewing adding positive and negative numbers. Dice and spinners for your probability unit. Algebra tiles for your polynomial and quadratic unit.
For the algebra tiles you can change the background (don’t forget to hit the “go” button) and hover over the corner to change the orientation of the tile.
#2) CPM Virtual Tiles
CPM is a well known math curriculum focused on small group learning. They have a wonderful free tiles site with more than just algebra tiles. The ones I would use with grades 6-12 would be the number line and virtual algebra tiles. Number lines for reviewing adding positive and negative numbers and again, algebra tiles for your polynomial and quadratic unit.
For the algebra tiles, click once to turn the tile from positive to negative and double click to change the orientation of the tile (that took me a minute to figure out). You can also change the background on this site to set up for equations, expressions, or factoring.
#3) Google slides
I’ve gotten to know Malia from Math with Ms. Rivera this year and love the resources she creates for her students! She created specific resources with virtual algebra tiles using google slides and I just think it’s genius. Here are some of my favorites:
As we seek to touch less shared surfaces in this pandemic and post-pandemic world, virtual math manipulatives will be increasingly necessary for our students who need kinesthetic opportunities in our math classes. I hope this post helps you feel more prepared to give them a try.
Looking for more tips to engage your students who struggle with math in your class?
Download my FREE guide, 10 Powerful and Easy Math Intervention Strategies, for additional tools to add to your teaching tool box to reach your students who struggle.