Software Programs for Kids With Math Issues

By The Understood Team
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Kids with math issues can struggle to understand math concepts or do 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.

  • Graphic organizers 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

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

Program and Price Key Features Software 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 MathPack (includes FX Draw, FX Equation, FX Graph and FX Stat): $65 (Mac or Windows)

(You can also buy the individual programs separately.)

  • 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.

Geogebra: Free (Mac or Windows)

(Kids can also use it for free online.)

  • Calculator
  • Graphing tool
  • Drawing tool
  • Equation-solving tool

With the graphing tool:

Kids can plot the path of equations. There are many options for viewing and annotating the plotted graphs.

With the drawing tool:

Kids can draw lines, points, shapes and other features. When they do, the program gives the corresponding equation.

With the equation-solving tool:

The program has a simple equation solver. By clicking on an equation, kids can solve for one or more variables.

Kidspiration: $39.95 (Mac or Windows)
  • Virtual manipulatives
  • Graphic organizers

With the virtual manipulatives:

Aimed at grade-schoolers, this program has several sets of virtual objects. These include fraction tiles, base ten blocks and more. After kids use the objects, they can save their work as image files.

With the graphic organizers:

The program has a “Step Workspace” that lets kids show and explain their steps as they do math problems. Kids can add as many steps as they need.

MathTalk: $295 (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, as well as the program Scientific Notebook (which is included with the software).

MathType: $57 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 with math issues a wide range of tools that come 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 at the time of publication, on October 6, 2016. Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

About the Author

About the Author

The Understood Team 

is made up of passionate writers, editors, and community moderators. Many of them learn and think differently, or have kids who do.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Shelley Haven 

has spent more than 30 years helping individuals with physical, sensory, and cognitive challenges unlock their potential with technology.

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