Friday, May 22, 2020

Virtual Manipulatives

I am a big believer in using manipulatives during math class!  When we first were told we would have to teach on-line, I was devastated trying to think of how to teach math without manipulatives.  Fortunately, I was reminded of some virtual manipulative versions. In case you have been looking for some virtual versions of your favorite math tools, I have a list of the ones I have found so far.

1. The Math Learning Center

This is probably the resource I use the most.  They have clocks, number frames, number lines, fractions, geo-boards, base ten blocks, money, and pattern shapes.  I like that students can share their work with you as well as being able to share it on your screen during Zoom lessons or whole class lessons using a Smart Board.

They have versions for both computers and iPads.

2. MathsBot.Com

This site features even more manipulatives including: algebra disks and tiles, bar modeling, place value counters, dice, dominoes, fraction walls, cuisenaire rods, and more.

The site has some other great features such as a question generator, printables, and puzzles.

3. Illuminations

This site has many of the same types of manipulatives as the other two, but, one thing I really love about it is the dynamic paper. You can create the things you need to show using the tool (such as graph paper, number lines, and pattern blocks), and then can export it as a pdf or jpg to use with your students off-line as well.


One thing I really like about this site is that you can easily mix and match a variety of manipulatives. You can see in the picture below how you could show that 1/4 of 8 = 2.

5Toy Theater

This site has a ton of the usual virtual manipulatives, but some things that make it unique are it's inclusion of letter tiles, a classroom timer, a stop watch, an area and perimeter explorer, number charts, Elkonin boxes, and a thermometer.

Some different manipulatives at this site include a balance and spinners.  I also like that this site has some free activities for using the manipulatives.

7National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

One thing I really like about this site is the ability to sort the manipulatives by grade level and content area.

In addition to the manipulatives there are some math games and puzzles as well.

8. Phoenix College Mathematics Blog

My  favorite feature of these virtual manipulatives is the paper folding for fraction addition and subtractions. I also would have loved the integer chips operations when I taught 7th grade math!


This site has a large variety of virtual math manipulatives, but one of my favorite things is that they were designed to look like the physical manipulatives that you would use in class.  You can easily switch back and forth during whole group and small group instruction.

The only negative with this site is that it is a paid subscription, but it would be well worth it if you have PTA or school funds to buy it!

  I also love the connection they make with the fraction circles and clocks!

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