Free math software downloads
[05 Apr 2009]
For many years now I’ve been advocating greater use of math software in education. Computer algebra systems have been around for a few decades and yet many math educators continue to resist them.
High cost has been one of the main barriers to the implementation of computer math software. Sophisticated packages like Matlab ($500 for a student license), MathCAD ($995 single user, $129 for student license) or Mathematica ($3120 for standard download and $139 for students) are beyond the reach of most institutions and certainly most individual students.
So here is a list of free math software downloads that you may find useful. I have restricted the list to products that are suitable for the range of topics in my Interactive Mathematics site (that is, from beginner algebra through trigonometry, logarithms, graphs, and calculus up to Laplace Transform and Fourier Series). These products could replace expensive high school math software.
I have only included packages that are still currently under development. Each of the following would be appropriate for incorporating into an interactive whiteboard lesson – especially if the students are given the opportunity to interact and learn from their explorations. Any one of them would be good math software for gifted students too.
I will update this page as more packages come to my notice.
Please feel free to add your suggestions to this list.
|GeoGebra||Java-based, so PC, Mac, Linux||Dynamically interact with geometric figures and graphs. Can perform differentiation and integration on functions. Ideal for investigating and exploring a wide array of math.||Open source|
|Math Mechanixs||PC only||Extendable function library, a function solver, 2D and 3D graphing, a calculus facility allowing single, double and triple integration and differentiation.||Free registration required|
|iMoney Lite||PC only||Keep track of personal finance – income and expenses, assets and liabilities. Draw up a budget, track investment portfolios, automatically balances a checkbook.||Freeware version of commercial product|
|Calc 3D Pro||PC only||Mathematical graph and charting software for geometry and statistics Can do best fits, function plotting, integration. It handles vectors, matrices, complex numbers, quaternions, coordinates, regular polygons and intersections. Calculates distances, intersections, volume and area for point, line, plane, sphere, circle. Cartesian, spherical and cylindrical coordinates. Carthesian plot, polar plot, parametric plot, best fit, fast fourier transformation, histogram. See screenshots.||Donations requested|
|LiveMath Viewer||Java-based, so PC, Mac, Linux, Solaris Sparc||Allows user to interact with documents made by the commercial LiveMath Editor. Like the Mathematica Player, you can investigate math documents, but cannot create and save your own. Used throughout Interactive Mathematics. See LiveMath info. Seems there has been very little development of this product lately.||Freeware viewer version of commercial product|
|Mathematica Player||PC, Mac, Linux||Has an embedded Mathematica engine, allowing user to interact with thousands of available "demonstrations". You can investigate math documents, but cannot create and save your own. See my overview.||Freeware viewer version of commercial product|
|GraphSketch||Web-based, so PC, Mac, Linux||Creates smooth graphs of polynomial, trigonometric and exponential functions. See my review: GraphSketch.com – free online math grapher||Freely available – no download required|
[Link no longer available]
|Smartphone, PC, Linux. requires Microsoft’s .NET Framework||SMath has a "paper-like" interface that allows the user to create mathematical documents containing formulas, graphs, text and images. It can perform various calculations, including matrices, calculus and trigonometry. It is similar in concept to Scientific Notebook, that is used extensively in Interactive Mathematics (see SNB Info). SMath has great promise, but falls short in documentation (I could not find any tutorials or "how to" information) and usability.||Freeware|
|Mathematics v10||PC only||Pre-defined topics in which the user can change parameters and investigate outcomes. Includes: number systems, roots, angles, triangle ratios, fractions, vectors, circle angles, algebra, graphing, slope, personal finance, data anaylsis, binary numbers.||Freeware, but with advertising (company’s home page appears)|
|Maxima||PC only||Computer algebra system that can perform algebra and calculus, and plot 2-D and 3-D curves. PC, Linux. Entry of math is code-like (not user friendly) and the output is basic.||Free. GNU General Public License|
Here is some other free educational math software that didn’t make this list, but you may find interesting:
- DC Proof [PC-based, interactive software tool to aid critical thinking by using the methods of formal logic and proof]
- Numerical Solutions [PC-based numerical- and graphic-based packages. This is shareware (must pay after 30 days). Some nice features of investigation of math, but the fixed 800×600 screen and primary colors look like something out of 1995.]
- jMath [jMath can plot functions, solve equations, find intersection points, show min/max points, plot tangent, find derivatives. No longer being developed.]
I hope you found this list of math solving software to be useful.