Our 7 Favorite Free Online Math Resources
Welcome Leaders of Learners everywhere! We see you. We know how hard you work and how you’re always in search of just the right resource to use with your learners, and we want to help!
Today is a continuation of a blog series featuring our favorite FREE online educational resources to support you and your learners. Last time, it was language resources, today, we’re focusing on math resources.
Math is probably the easiest subject to practice in game form. That being the case, there are myriad math game sites out there. We’ve tried a lot of them out and we’re presenting you our favorites. And not just our favorite math game resources, but also our favorite math teaching resources. These resources will help from introduction to review in a variety of engaging, thought-provoking, and intensive ways.
We’ve organized these resources in the gradual release of responsibility model. So, the first resource will be heaviest on teaching and the last resource will be heaviest on practice. The asterisk next to a resource indicates heavy leader workload. In each resource review, we’ll tell you why we love it, bullet point highlighted resource features, suggest how we’d use it with our learners (including thoughts for consideration), and end with a one to two sentence resource description.
In list form, here are the resources we’ve stewed on for you (click the link to jump to our review).
* = heavy leader workload
If you’re looking for a comprehensive, deep-diving, common core aligned, completely free math curriculum, look no more; Engage NY is what you’ve been searching for. An additional advantage of Engage NY is that it’s being supported with resources from Khan Academy. So, pair the two and your only problem is having too many options. Check out some of Engage NY features below:
- Curriculum maps that are grade specific and multi-grade level
- Each module has an overall and individual topic overviews, mid and end of module assessments, and
- Available in several languages – English, Arabic, Bengali, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Spanish
- Each lesson is organized in the following format:
- Objective – written in kid-friendly language
- Lesson structure with estimated time lengths (shown in list and pie graph form)
- Fluency practice to accomplish three goals (sometimes written and sometimes oral):
- Maintain previously learned skills
- Prepare for current lesson
- Anticipate upcoming lessons
- Application (word) problem with a heavy focus on picture representations of mathematical concepts
- Concept development with scripted teacher prompts and sample models to help guide the lesson. Includes a problem set to do and review in class.
- Student debrief, or wrap-up as we’d call it, serves as a chance to reflect on and process the learning. Includes a printable “exit ticket” to use as a formative assessment and homework to extend learning at home.
We, personally, don’t tend to be scripted teachers, so when we taught from this curriculum we would go through and change the lesson more to our teaching style. Naturally, that means a little more preparation. Additionally, we didn’t find every activity beneficial for our learners, so frequently chose only the ones we deemed helpful. But both of these workload-adding options were entirely our choice, you could choose a “print and go” teaching style if it works more for you. However, we still recommend reading through the lesson before teaching it, taking notes, trying out some of the problems, and preparing any necessary teaching aids. So, that alone is still workload. Another consideration is that this program lacks options for differentiation and center learning, leaving those responsibilities to the teacher.
Engage NY provides an intensive, all-inclusive, common core aligned math curriculum with detailed instruction guidance.
Honestly, I long for a little bit of what used to be when I think of Khan Academy. I LOVED the retro version that lives in my memory. You took a placement test, and from those test results, your curriculum was curated. I miss that Khan Academy. But, letting go of what used to be, I’ll now tell you what I love about Khan Academy. Every skill has instructional videos. As you’re completing the practice or taking the test, it gives you immediate feedback. It modifies your instruction based on your progress. It has a lot of useful teacher features and stimulates student autonomy in learning. Check out these features:
- Instructional videos for every skill
- Adaptive learning has you continue practicing skills or moves you on when you prove mastery
- Course and mastery challenges to “level you up” faster
- Mix of open-ended and multiple-choice questions
- Supports learning by offering hints, easy access to the instructional video, and examples of how to solve.
- Immediate feedback includes encouraging words when successful and having you immediately keep trying (with supports available) when unsuccessful.
- Reports progress in percentages toward mastery, number of questions toward next benchmark, and progress reports every time you log in.
- Incentivizes learning with a customizable avatar and frequent challenges for bonus points
This resource, while comprehensive and self-paced, is not engaging to many learners. In a world rife with video games promoting instant gratification, supplemented by intense graphics set to music, Khan Academy just doesn’t meet the hype. However, if your learner is self-motivated to learn, if you’re looking for a different perspective on teaching a topic or if assign skill practice digitally appeals to you, Khan Academy is an ideal resource.
Khan Academy is a self-paced instructional website featuring self-scoring practice and assessments reported in detail for a wide array of topics spanning Kindergarten to adulthood.
A reference site with skill practice and critical thinking games and puzzles to challenge your brain. This site is for math geeks and budding math geeks of all ages. It’s ideal for anyone looking for an easy to understand explanation of math vocabulary and those looking for brain training. Look at these features:
- A teacher’s page suggests ideas to engage your learners (including online manipulatives)
- The illustrated math dictionary offers easy-to-understand definitions with links to continued learning
- Skill explanations and practice on various mathematical concepts: algebra, data, geometry, measurement, numbers, money, calculus, and physics
- Puzzles to exercise your brain from starter puzzles to Einstein puzzles
- Games, logic and strategy-based, like checkers and 3D Tetris offer brain training like none other
- Worksheets with “thousands of variations” to cover various skills from addition to time. But, just in case that still isn’t enough, it also offers:
Aptly named, it’s a fun site for math. Engage in learning definitions, practicing skills and training your brain. We’d use it as an instructional tool, a challenge-finding database and practice opportunities.
Math is Fun is an ideal resource to feed, inspire and train curious mathematical minds.
I first stumbled across Turtle Diary during the dawn of the at-home learning era in the time of COVID. A deeper dive left me wondering why I didn’t know of it sooner. You want lesson supplements that you can easily track? Turtle Diary’s got it. Instructional videos that have your back? Yep, they have that too. A tool that keeps records of what your learners have done and even assesses them? Check. What if you want a printable that correlates to the lessons, games and online assessments? Oh yeah, that’s in Turtle Diary too. Check out all the ways Turtle Diary has your back:
- Supports Grades Kindergarten to Fifth
- Offers games, videos, assessments, printables, and teaching tools (including manipulatives)
- Search by standard or use open-ended search field. Filter by grade level and activity type.
- Track progress with a FREE account (and ones for students) and assign lessons straight to Google Classroom or within the diary
- Rate the activities and keep track of your favorites
- Download activities ahead of time so it’s ready to go in your lesson
- Games offer encouragement and some have options to play with others (classmates, friends or random)
- Suggests related activities
While Turtle Diary does offer video lessons, they are all animated with computer-generated voices and seemed a bit slow and dry to us. But they do a thorough job teaching the skill and some of your learners might learn better through them. Plus, they are great resources for away-from-teacher support. Also, if you want to use the assessment feature, make sure that you generate accounts before taking the assessment; it won’t generate a report unless you have an account.
Consider Turtle Diary for all types of math instruction from introduction to assessment including engaging and targeted online games.
While I’ve stumbled upon Mr. Nussbaum’s site previously, I must say my reacquaintance shocked me. It’s evolved so much. You’ll find engaging, meaningful, and implementable resources to slip into your instructional routine. Check out these features:
- Main focus on First to Third Grade with additional resources spanning Kindergarten to Sixth
- A family/teacher guide highlights the site’s top resources
- Sorted by subject and skills (filterable by grade level, format, activity type and standard)
- Brief description summarizes a resource’s type, grade level applicability and standards covered
- Resources include the following:
- Online Activities
- Printable Activities
- Instructional videos
- Digital teaching tools
We’re still discovering resources on Mr. Nussbaum and believe it will take you awhile to discover everything too. But it will be worth your time. These are high-quality, well-thought-out resources by a teacher who knows what you need and delivers it!
Use Mr. Nussbaum for all your teaching aid and practice activity needs. Discover manipulatives, instructional videos, printables, games, drills, and open-ended exploration.
You remember those commercials for vTech where the parent would tell the kid, “Stop (insert innocent action here) and go play your video games!”? I don’t remember if it was vTech specifically, to be honest. Or if I even got the quote right. If you remember, please tell me. But my point is, Prodigy reminds me of that. It’s math practice in a game that kids don’t mind playing. I even got sucked into it while testing it out. So, if you’re looking for math fact practice your kids will enjoy, we suggest you try Prodigy. Check out a few of its features:
- Gamifies math skill practice
- Players are part of an epic, ever-expanding story set in an open world
- Undertake quests
- Battle monsters by solving math problems
- Connect with friends online
- Defeat Titans
- Game play features
- Provides a comprehensive and engaging opening tutorial
- Earn incentives for winning battles – including pets!
- Seasonal changes and challenges maintain interest levels
- Celebrate achievements by announcing them to the online community
- Learning features and supports
- Runs on an adaptive learning algorithm (read consideration below)
- Hints provided (and sometimes instructional videos)
- Electronic pen
- Option to read problem out loud
- Relevant digital manipulative tools available
- Variety of open-ended and multiple choice questions
- Parent or Teacher Features
- Comprehensive reports
- Pop-up suggestions
- Assessment opportunities you can choose to assign
- Determine their course or just let them go through the Prodigy order
Now, before you jump all in, there are few considerations we have for you. First, if you’re committed to only using the free version, we’ll warn you they relentlessly push the paid version. Every time your learner wins a battle, it shows them what they would win if they upgraded their membership. Second, Prodigy is not a teaching tool. While they are starting to add in some instructional videos, they are optional. In addition, we found some questions difficult to understand, leaving you to guess what they want from you. Third, while Prodigy boasts of an adaptive learning algorithm, I began the game at third grade level and tested into fifth grade. (I hope my math skills are higher than that.) Despite having tested into fifth grade, I continued receiving the same questions covering the same skills found in the third-grade placement test until I officially “ranked out.” It was frustrating for me because I had to keep practicing skills I already knew. Finally, it does not promote a growth mindset. If you get an answer wrong, it doesn’t make you try again, it just tells you the right answer and then negatively impacts your gameplay with no reteach, reinforcement or refinement opportunities; thereby emphasizing accuracy over struggle.
That being said, we definitely thing Prodigy is worth your consideration. The relentless marketing helps your learner resist marketing ploys. The math skills reviewed match what's being taught in skill, so it's good reinforcement. It is engaging enough your learner will likely ask to play it; that effect alone is enough for us to recommend it with a resounding, "YES!"
Prodigy, an epic adventure game where math is your weapon.
Aha! Isn’t this one is familiar? If you read all about our favorite Language Arts resource recommendations, it likely is. It’s your one-stop shop for instruction supporting games in multiple subject areas including seasonal and some competitive games. Check out the math features it offers:
- Preschool to Sixth Grade resources
- Filter games by grade level and subject area, standard or game
- Bookmark your favorites (up to three for free). A few we’d bookmark:
- Fuzz Bugs (Preschool to Kindergarten) – My niece adored this game. Every ABC Ya rotation was set to the tune of "Fuzz Bugs." Count, sort and compare colors and numbers with these lovable fellas.
- Math Man Jr. (Kindergarten to Fourth) – It’s Pacman where the math facts are pills. You eat a question mark and chase down the ghost that matches the answer.
- Equal Ratio Asteroids (Fourth to Sixth Grade) – Shoot the asteroid with the equal ratio to the one displayed beneath your shooter.
As with Language Arts, we’ll offer the same note of caution: make sure your learner chooses the appropriate options for the target skill their practicing, otherwise the game will not be suitable for them. In addition, not all games have great directions. Some are figure-them-out-as-you-go kind of games.
ABC Ya, independent practice games to complement many Preschool to Sixth grade subject areas.
Before you go, we’d love to know:
- What free and digital math resource should we add to this list?
- Which math resource mentioned above will you visit first?
At your service,
Interested in even more educational resources? Then stop by our Learning Lab. It's here where we store all the educational resources we've cooked up to date.