Just in Time for Pi Day: EdSurge's Five Most Popular Free Math Tools

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Just in Time for Pi Day: EdSurge's Five Most Popular Free Math Tools

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     Mar 4, 2015

Just in Time for Pi Day: EdSurge's Five Most Popular Free Math Tools

You've seen it before--our "Top S'Cool Tools of the Year" articles in late December. We're able to compile those lists because every week, our educator-specific INSTRUCT newsletter contains a section called “S’Cool Tools,” where we list either popular or up-and-coming edtech tools. And when we track the number of clicks in the newsletters, it's easy to see that some tools rise to the top over others.

In the spirit of annual 3/14 Pi Day celebrations everywhere, we decided to do a tools grab-bag article again, but with a little flair. We've combed through the last twelve months of INSTRUCT newsletters--every single section, including "S'Cool Tools" and "Subject-Specific"--and found the five math products that made you the most click-happy.

Without further ado, we give you the top five most popular math tools from the last 365 days. And guess what? They're all free.

5. Function Carnival from Desmos - Free! Back in March of 2014, math site Demos added Function Carnival, developed in collaboration with math educators Dan Meyer and Christopher Danielson. Function Carnival helps students get a handle on confusing graphs lessons and helps them experiment to resolve misunderstandings. Through video, graphing, and replaying graphs as animations students can begin to construct their own understanding of what these graphs really mean.

4. SumDog - Free! Nearly a year ago, we gave a shout-out to Technology Specialist Elisabeth Flottman and LA’s KIPP Empower Academy for tossing us this “math bone.” Sumdog is a free site with math games where students can play each other, or play other students from across the globe. Extra bonus goodies: create free student logins, monitor your students’ live performances and run progress reports for parents. It’s bow-wow-wonderful.

3. Photomath - Free! According to edublogger Richard Byrne's blogpost back in October, this app could "change the way we think about math." Photomath is an iOS and Windows app that provides students with solutions to math problems, whether users can take a picture of a math problem in a book and immediately watch as the problem is completed for them. Will this encourage cheating--or rather, student empowerment? Whatever it encourages, Photomath garnered a lot of clicks from the INSTRUCT readership audience, and continues to get frequent mentions from educators on Twitter.

2. Contraption Maker - Free! Though not exactly straight math instruction, Contraption Maker captured the hearts of math and science teachers like back in the fall. Trampolines, dynamite, and conveyor belts might be unwieldy in the classroom--but with Contraption Maker, your students can use these tools (virtually) to solve puzzles and make contraptions. Designed for students in grades 3-8, Contraption Maker offers up hundreds of puzzles on your browser, and is free for educators.

1. TeachMe- Free! Here’s one for the gamer in all of you: TeachMe is an online suite of internet math games, available for teachers, students, and parents to use inside and outside the classroom. Covering math concepts in Pre-K to 9th grade and searchable by Common Core State Standards, TeachMe also has progress reports and dashboards for parents and teachers to track individual student performance.

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