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Software Programs for Kids Who Struggle With Math

By The Understood Team

Kids can struggle with many aspects of math, from understanding math concepts to doing simple arithmetic. Tackling word problems and writing out math equations may also be hard for them. Fortunately, assistive technology (AT) software can help. A wide range of features can help with everything from the most basic to the most advanced math problems.

Here are some of the tools these programs may offer:

  • Calculators

  • Math notation tools to write or type math symbols and equations

  • Graphing tools to plot the path of an equation

  • Drawing tools for drawing lines, shapes, and other geometric objects

  • Equation-solving tools to help manipulate and solve multi-step problems and functions with variables (example: x = 2y - x → x = y)

  • Virtual manipulatives, which allow kids to work with virtual objects like number lines and ten frames (typically a two-by-five rectangle that helps kids “see” numbers and place value). Manipulatives can be helpful for illustrating abstract math concepts.

  • for math to help break down and lay out the steps for solving a math problem

  • Text-to-speech (TTS) to read aloud calculations or math word problems

  • Dictation (voice-to-text) to type out math equations a child says

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Here are some software options to consider. Most of them run on both macOS and Windows.

Program and priceKey featuresSoftware experience
Calculator: Free (built into Mac and Windows)
  • Calculator
  • TTS (Mac only)

With the calculator:

Kids can use it to do simple arithmetic. They can also choose scientific or programming calculators.

Kids can also convert between common measures. For example, they can convert miles per hour to knots, or Celsius to Fahrenheit.

With the TTS:

This program can be used as a talking calculator that reads aloud buttons that are pressed, and also answers.

FX Draw Tools: $65 (Mac or Windows)

You can also add on the FX Draw Bonus Tools (FX Equation, FX Graph, and FX Stat).

 

  • Math notation
  • Graphing tool
  • Drawing tool

With the math notation:

FX Equation lets kids write out equations very quickly. Kids can type in the equation using their keyboards. They can also easily insert the equations they create into Word, PowerPoint, and other programs.

With the graphing tool:

Kids can type out an equation and plot it or draw various lines and curves directly on virtual graph paper. They can then print out the results.

Kids can also view the plot in 3D, add math notations, shading, and notes to different sections.

MathTalk: $325 (Windows)
  • Math notation
  • Dictation

With the dictation:

Kids can dictate math symbols and equations. They can use their voice to type out everything from pre-algebra to high-level calculus.

MathTalk requires that a computer have Dragon (formerly Dragon NaturallySpeaking) installed. You can order MathTalk with Dragon for $675. It also requires the program Scientific Notebook (which is included with the software).

MathType: $39.95/year for students (Mac or Windows)
  • Math notation

By typing out or clicking on commands, kids can generate complex math equations using thousands of symbols.

MathType can handle advanced math like derivatives, statistics, and matrices. Once kids type out their answers, they can print or save and email their work.

Matti Math: $29.95 (Mac or Windows)

(The tools in this software are also available for free online at the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives.)

  • Virtual manipulatives

Kids have access to dozens of virtual objects like number lines, pie charts, algebra balance scales, and more to help them understand math concepts.

The virtual objects are organized by type of math, and by grade level.

Assistive technology software offers kids who struggle with math a wide range of tools in a wide range of prices. For more ideas, explore free Chrome tools that help with math, along with other free tools available online. You can also look into assistive technology that’s built into mobile devices.


Price and availability may vary but were accurate as of January 15, 2020. Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

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  • Facebook
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  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom