Technology in the Elementary Math Classroom

Duncan White and Doug Stretch

A handout developed for the 1998 Calgary Public Teachers Convention

On the following page you will find a number of ideas for integrating technology into the Division and Division II math curriculum. Some are suited more for a particular grade than are others however, you may find that you can adapt them to the grade level you are teaching. Some of the activities are adapted from the Quest 2000 Technology Package, the Internet and colleagues. Each of the activities has been modified in a variety of ways. How you use these activities depends on many factors. Our goal is to provide you with many ways that the computer can be used as a tool in the math classroom, and to help you develop a comfort and confidence in using computers yourself.


Questions to ponder before integrating technology:


Number Exercises

Calculator Place Value Game (Quest 2000 - grade five p.50 of student book)


The Number Array Booklet (Quest 2000)

In a DRAW environment, children explore multiplication facts by creating arrays on the computer. Show tools, and draw a 0.5-cm box. Copy the box several times. Consult with your students about what multiplication facts they find most difficult. The opening arrays for the number 16 can be recreated in any DRAW program

Number Recognition.

Using the DRAW environment, have student's copy and paste a drawing they have created. Have them identify how many drawings they have created. This works very well using Kidpix.

A Thousand Digits (Quest 2000)

Children explore the size of 1000 by creating 1000 digits in a word processing program. This activity requires no set-up on the computer.

Book of Comparisons

Students choose five countries and research four different number qualities for those countries. Then they chart, graph and reflect on the results. A simpler example, a grade 2 class can use people facts like number of cousins, siblings, or grandparents.

Computer Designs

Using the DRAW environment, have students copy and paste squares, no larger than 1cm squared. Make a 10 by 10 grid, use the fill tool to make a design. Print and invite students to solve each others fraction puzzle. A template prepared ahead of time might be helpful to younger children. Upper grades may challenge themselves with decimal representations.

Shape and Space

Shape Picture

Each member of a group creates a picture using one type of geometric shape (see Trig the dog). They create a caption for their picture and the pictures are then printed or put into a slide show presentation.

Or try this. In a DRAW environment, draw a picture with:

4 squares 2 parallelograms 1 cylinder 3 rectangles 2 triangles

Geometry Nets

Use the draw tools to draw Nets for geometry. Have the manipulatives beside them to aid in their thinking process. Duplicate and rotate, from the menu are commands you will need to familiarize with.

Designing With Symmetry (adapted from Quest 2000)

In a DRAW environment, children explore transformations by creating images that have lines of symmetry. This activity requires no set-up on the computer.

Tessellation's (adapted from Quest 2000 - grade 5)

In a PAINT environment, students create box patterns by copying and pasting any squares and rectangles they like. This activity requires no set-up on the computer.

Graphing with Area and Perimeter

In a DRAW environment, make a spreadsheet to show a relationship between area and perimeter. Students draw a square (1.0cm), copy and paste to form square or rectangles of increasing size. Consider how you might maintain the same area but increase the perimeter. After completing a chart, graph the information using a graph of their choice. A line graph works well.


Patterns and Relations

Number Cruncher (Quest 2000)

In a spreadsheet environment, students create number crunchers by creating a rule of their choice. They graph the inputs and outputs of their number crunchers, and use the graph to predict the outputs of new inputs. This activity requires no set-up on the computer, however an example may prove very helpful. A short review of formulas and how to use the spreadsheet tool is also useful.

Area and Perimeter Patterns - (see above)

Create the Next Shape

Consider making a template for this one using ClarisWorks or Kidpix. In a DRAW environment, draw 3 or 4 so that they're touching. Group them under Format (Claris). Copy and paste twice, each time rotating clockwise. A simpler example would be to create, in order, a square, circle, triangle and a circle. Have students save this on their own disk, make up their own and print for others to enjoy.

Statistics and Probability

Coin Toss - (Mathkeys - Probability 1) You can download this program at:

M&M Math - see below

Information and Communication Technology

M & M Math (practice and worksheets provided)

Students munch their way through cookies keeping a tally of how many M&M's are found in each color. Then a teacher designed math worksheet is completed that reviews many math concepts.

Provides practice in sorting and graphing using M&M's. Part of the Chocolate Thematic Unit. (integrates well with celebrations like Halloween, Christmas and Easter)

Provides students with a hands-on and cooperative learning experience in the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and to improve decision making skills through the use of probability. Visit the site at:

Body Basics

This lesson integrates well with a unit on measurement. Lots of number manipulation using a spreadsheet. Students enjoy sharing their graphs and comparing the measurements. Students create a spreadsheet and graph, and use formulas to add measurements, and compute the average.

The Internet

One key to beginning integration is to use existing lesson plans that will benefit from the wide range of resources on the Internet. Use the suggestions below to decide where to integrate, and determine what types of activities to accomplish and which web sites to use (there are many to chose from).

Choose the curricular area to be reinforced, enriched or instructed with the Internet.


Divide the curriculum into manageable portions and set a schedule.

Define a cube, identify its characteristics, and look at faces

Decide on the learning activities for each of your objectives.

Look at cubes, name the parts of a cube, and describe faces

Decide which learning activities could be supported with the Internet.

We only have solid cubes of one colour, this makes it difficult to see that faces of a cube can have different characteristics

Search for websites that would support the learning activities.

Website searches geometry, cubes

Evaluate the web site for appropriateness. (e.g. content, ability level, classroom set-up)

Decide on site

Bookmark the selected sites for student use or create a hypertext link to each of the sites through the use of a school or teacher developed web page.

This makes it easy and less time consuming for students

Some of the best activities to use the Internet for are those that require real - time content and updated information, research, comparisons or discussions.

Decide how many students are going to be involved in the integration. If you are having small groups work together then cooperative learning is a requirement. Individual integration is best used with sites that require an individual response.

Remember - never go on-line just to say you used the Internet. Determine the goal and student outcomes before using the Internet. Is there a real task to do? Will the use of the Internet approach the task in a different way? Will the use of the Internet enhance the curriculum? Is the lesson manageable when using the Internet?

Here are some sites you might want to try. Some present activities that might better be introduced using math manipulatives, but you never know. Some children can do the darndest things on a computer. Good luck!

Mathematics Resources on the Internet

Here are a few of the most useful Internet sites we have found:

St. Anthony's Resource Centre - This site is part of Edmonton Separate Board. It is a great site for a ll areas of the curriculum. Math is divided into General sites and then the four strands. They have an excellent resource person for math at the centre. Her name is Betty Morris.`rschlender/md12_int.htm

Megamathematics - a great site for investigative problems.

Mathmagic - this site allows you to participate with other schools around the world in solving math problems.

Mathforum - great site for resources, information and discussions.


Alberta Education - has curriculums online, also tells new happenings in technology.


Here are some other sites for you to try. We do not like all of the sites below but others may find them valuable:


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Last Updated: 01/10/02