Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Create Jamboard Math Activities with Equatio

Jamboard is an excellent tool for creating interactive learning activities for students. However, if you are wanting to create math activities, Jamboard does not have many built-in math features, other than a small collection of shapes.

Thankfully there is a powerful tool, that is also free for educators, that can be used to easily add all sorts of mathematical manipulatives, symbols, and expressions to Jamboard. That tool is the Equatio extension for Chrome. 

Equatio is a toolbar that makes it super easy to create mathematical expressions, as well as a wide variety of math manipulatives, and insert them into Google Docs, Slides, Forms, and more. We will be looking specifically how to do that in Jamboard.

See below for a 12-minute video covering all the details, as well as written directions.

Tutorial Video (12 minutes)

Here is my 12-minute video on how to create interactive math activities for your students in Jamboard by using the free Equatio extension for Chrome.

Demo Jamboard with Sample Math Activities

I had some fun trying out lots of different Equatio options and built a sample Jamboard with a collection of activities to demonstrate some possibilities for math activities. If you would like you can get a copy of that file for inspiration, the link is below.

Install the Equatio Extension

To make these types of math activities in Jamboard, the first thing you will need to do is install the Equatio extension, if you do not have it installed already. This can be done through the Chrome Web Store using the link below.
Once the Equatio extension is installed be sure to pin it so it will stay visible on your toolbar in your list of extensions.

Launch Equatio

To launch Equatio you will simply:
  • Open up a Jamboard file
  • Then click on the Equatio extension icon in the top right corner of Chrome.
  • The Equatio toolbar will open up at the bottom of the screen.

Equatio Settings

Before we start adding math from Equatio to our Jamboard, we may want to double-check the Equatio settings.
  • Simply click on the Equation logo in the bottom left corner, and choose "Options".
  • In the pop-up window, now choose "Math Options".
  • Here I like to set the "Math font size" to "XX-Large". 
  • This creates a higher resolution image so it doesn't look pixelated if you need to resize it.

Adding Math to Jamboard

Now that everything is set up, we can start adding math to our Jamboard. There are lots of buttons on the Equatio toolbar to help you with this, but I will highlight some of my favorites...

Equation Editor

First there is the "Equation Editor" button. This is perfect if you want to type in the math you need. As you type, Equatio will make suggestions to help you complete your math. There is also a gallery of symbols, premade layouts, and formulas.

Once you are happy with the math that has been created, you can insert it into your Jamboard by:
  • Clicking the "Copy Math As…" button on the far right corner of the Equatio toolbar
  • Then choosing "Image" from the pop-up menu.
  • The math is now copied and can be pasted into your Jamboard as normal (Ctrl-V for example).

Handwriting Recognition

Another great tool on the toolbar is the "Handwriting Recognition" button. This allows you to draw out your math, and then creates the nice image version of it. When done you can copy and paste the finished image just like before.

Graph Editor

Another useful button on the toolbar is the "Graph Editor" tool. This allows you to easily make graphs of equations and insert those into your Jamboard.

Insert Mathspace

My favorite tool for adding math though is the "Insert Mathspace" button. This opens a new tab where you can make many other exciting math graphics.

On this screen the toolbar will have many of the same buttons, but adds some new ones too. For example there is the "Shapes" button that has dozens and dozens of math-related images you can select from.

Better yet though is the "Smart Shapes" button. This allows you to create dynamic shapes that you can adjust the properties of to make the exact math manipulative you need. 

Some of the "Smart Shapes" include:

Number Line - Adjust segments, labels, start, and step.

Grid - Adjust the number of rows and columns.

Protractor - Adjust the graduations, labels, and more.

Coordinate Plane - Adjust ticks, arrows, labels, steps, and more.

Fraction Bar - Adjust segments and shading.

Fraction Circle - Adjust segments and shading.

Polygon - Adjust number of sides.

Angle Measure - Adjust angles, arrows, and label.

Clock - Adjust time, hands, and numbers versus roman numerals.

Regardless of which "Smart Shape" you choose, once you are done adjusting its properties, you can insert it back into your Jamboard as an image.
  • To do this click the "Insert" button in the top right corner.
  • This will close out of the "Mathspace" screen and return you to your Jamboard.
  • Now you can paste in the copied image as normal (Ctrl-V, etc.)

Example Math Activities

By using the Equatio toolbar we can build lots of creative, interactive math activities in Jamboard for our students. I had some fun trying out lots of different options and built a sample Jamboard with a collection of activities to demonstrate some possibilities. If you would like you can get a copy of that file for inspiration, the link is available below.
Some of the sample math activities include the following...

Drag and drop fractions to match their visual representations:

Drag and drop shapes to match up pairs that represent equivalent fractions:

Drag and drop stickers to match times with the clocks that show those times:

Use the pen tool to draw in the hands on a clock to show a new calculated time:

Drag and drop the protractor to measure angles, then move the sticky notes to check your answers:

Roll dice to generate random coordinates, fill them in on the sticky notes, then drag and drop the circles to plot the points on the graph:

Drag and drop equations onto their corresponding graphs:


And that's it! By using the Equatio extension you can create all sorts of math manipulatives, shapes, symbols, expressions, equations, and more, to turn your Jamboards into interactive math learning activities.

I would love to see what awesome math activities you create, so please consider sharing them!

Post by Eric Curts
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