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The Best Free Apps and Websites for Learning

If you're looking for easily accessible resources for your classroom, then you're in the right place. Whether you just got new tablets, Chromebooks, or computers -- or you're just looking to fill some curricular gaps -- it can be pricey to connect students with quality content. That's why we've hand-curated these awesome free apps and websites that get high marks from our editors for engagement and pedagogy. You'll find picks for each of the core subjects and all grade levels, so whether you're teaching elementary school, middle school, or high school, or focusing on arts, math, ELA, science, or social studies, you're sure to find something. If you've got a little more time on your hands, try digging into our full database.

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Math

Gracie & Friends Birthday Cafe

Numbers-and-quantity game has precise focus and superb scaffolding

Bottom line: Super approach to teaching a very specific topic: Help kids develop an easy familiarity with quantities under five.

Teachley: Addimal Adventure

Jungle animals help kids swing into math with single-digit addition

Bottom line: An excellent interactive way for kids to build a conceptual understanding of addition while having fun with silly jungle animals.

Matific

Engaging supplemental resource encourages conceptual understanding

Bottom line: A fun and engaging conceptual supplement for math lessons with easy-to-find standards-aligned activities.

NRICH

Untangle robust math problems for all ages; plenty of teaching support

Bottom line: It's an excellent classroom companion that can be implemented quickly with little adjustment and a high probability of success.

Doodle Fit 2: Around the World

Souped-up sequel still challenges spatial reasoning

Bottom line: Game-style puzzles teach area and units through creativity and competition.

Math Snacks

Satisfying mathematical treats kids will gladly gobble up

Bottom line: Teachers and students will excel with engaging, often funny material; it's a pleasure to explore these extensive resources.

Middle School Math Planet – Fun math game curriculum for kids

Challenging mix of activities and drills provide solid math practice

Bottom line: Variety of activities with built-in scaffolding make this an engaging and effective practice tool.

GeoGebra

Create, share, and modify math models and simulations

Bottom line: Free open-source software that lets teachers build or adapt learning experiences to meet their kids' needs.

Get the Math

Solve real-life algebra problems with diverse crew, delightful video

Bottom line: Proof that algebra is used to solve real problems in kid-approved professions: basketball, music, gaming, and fashion.

Geometry Pad

Construct and explore geometric figures with smart digital workbook

Bottom line: This free version has limited features, but it's an interactive, tech-savvy way for kids to explore advanced geometry.

ELA

Khan Academy Kids

Creative, smart mix of pre-K to K activities is a breath of fresh air

Bottom line: It's tough to stand out in the crowded early learning space, but this collection does just that, offering a one-stop shop for creative learning of foundational skills.

ReadWriteThink

Excellent free resource for all things reading and writing

Bottom line: A language arts teacher's dream; lesson plans, professional development, and all-around quality support.

Toontastic 3D

Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling

Bottom line: Despite some lack of variety and simple drawing tools, Toontastic 3D remains a terrific, versatile storytelling tool.

ReadWorks Digital

Research-based site makes it easy to assign, differentiate readings

Bottom line: An effective digital reinvention of the trusted ReadWorks platform that makes it simple to distribute and track high-quality reading assignments.

Bookopolis

Cute social network lets kids log books and connect with other readers

Bottom line: Kids-only social network gives students a safe space to connect, allows students to showcase and share their reading progress.

CommonLit

Feature-rich literacy resource offers superb support for readers

Bottom line: Access a hefty collection of reliable, ready-to-print, leveled passages that allow you to tailor lessons, assign online reading, and track progress.

World's Worst Pet - Vocabulary

Hip games help kids learn words they'll actually use

Bottom line: Learn the meaning of vocabulary words through fun games, and put it to good use as part of everyday conversation.

News360

Customizable reader has top-notch features, but beware of iffy content

Bottom line: A stellar, easily customizable way to browse and share the news, best used with some patient fine-tuning.

Science

NOVA

Compelling science videos have high-quality classroom applications

Bottom line: Stellar simulations, teacher guides, and other activities can stand on their own, and they're enhanced with high-quality video content.

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science

Outdated site still useful for science games and investigations

Bottom line: Many of these interesting and highly educational activities, though a bit disorganized, still challenge and engage kids in important ways.

Mystery Science

Big questions, kids' curiosity drive impressive science curriculum

Bottom line: These powerful science units capitalize on elementary school students' natural curiosity.

Code.org

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.

NASA

Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm

Bottom line: A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.

Classify It!

Cool tool teaches kids to observe, identify, classify living things

Bottom line: Fun, free resource is an excellent way for kids to apply and test their knowledge about various organisms.

Project Noah

Contribute kid research to stellar crowdsourced field guide

Bottom line: An outstanding resource that makes science relevant with lots of classroom potential.

Science Journal by Google

Turn your phone into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data

Bottom line: Science Journal does a good job recording real-time motion, sound, and light data using phones.

TinkerBox

Fantastic physics puzzler puts a virtual Maker Faire in kids' hands

Bottom line: TinkerBox is a rich resource for kids to learn, practice, and apply physics and engineering principles.

Social Studies

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth is an engaging and completely open-ended app perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

PenPal Schools

Give students global perspective with pen pal projects in any subject

Bottom line: A thoughtful, ready-to-go platform that facilitates authentic, cross-cultural collaboration.

Facing History and Ourselves

A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism

Bottom line: These valuable materials empower students to understand and address difficult ethical choices -- past and present.

DocsTeach

Historical texts, interactive activities can promote critical thinking

Bottom line: This text-rich app encourages students to conduct their own analysis of history, but the formats and graphics may prevent them from making a thorough analysis.

NYT VR - New York Times

Immersive 360-degree videos take users inside the headlines

Bottom line: Though there isn't much explicit learning content, there's immense value in the extraordinary opportunity to take a walk in someone else's world.

Digital Civics Toolkit

Superb, timely civics lessons focus on social media and student voice

Bottom line: For teachers looking to make civics relevant to students, there's nothing else out there as extensive or relevant.

Big History Project

Fascinating look at life's bigger questions with a fresh perspective

Bottom line: A wonderfully innovative and divergent way to teach foundational concepts in history, humanities, critical thinking, and science.

Global Oneness Project

Dynamic multimedia resources explore life experiences around the world

Bottom line: Unique approach to incorporating global issues into the curriculum; monthly stories capture interdisciplinary topics.

NPR News

Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves

Bottom line: Provides an easy, fun, and effective way to engage students with radio.

Arts

Artsonia Kids Art Museum

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work

Bottom line: A well-loved digital art museum that allows students to share work and reflect on their artistic process while helping teachers assess student understanding of artistic concepts.

ArtsEdge

Impressive cross-curricular resource helps put the A in STEAM

Bottom line: A useful and engaging resource for integrating the arts into a variety of other subject areas.

Wizard School

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.

Shadow Puppet Edu

Resource-rich video slideshow maker a gem for a variety of classrooms

Bottom line: Easy-to-use free tool is a must-have for elementary classrooms; just keep an eye on sharing and privacy.

Paper by FiftyThree

Beautifully designed digital sketchbook for any age

Bottom line: The simplicity and effectiveness of the app make this a powerful sketch and note-taking tool for the iPad.

Canva - Photo Editor & Design

Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.

Google Arts & Culture

Excellent curation and an unmatched art collection invite exploration

Bottom line: A one-stop shop for a vast amount of compellingly curated and contextualized art, but it's lacking educator supports.

Adobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites

Bottom line: This free, one-stop shop for creating sleek graphics, web stories, and animated videos is incredibly easy to use and challenges students to think critically about visual presentation.

Snapseed

Extremely powerful photo editor will equally delight pros, amateurs

Bottom line: It successfully walks the fine line of photo-editing features, offering satisfying experiences for those making quick edits and those crafting perfect images.

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