Graspable math activities

A Dynamic Learning Platform to Promote Algebraic Understanding

Supported by a SBIR Phase 1 and Phase II grant by ED/IES

Welcome to Graspable Math Activities

With Graspable Math Activities, you can assign algebra tasks to your students and see live feedback of their step-by-step work. It is powered by Graspable Math, a digital algebra notation that provides a powerful and flexible way to work with algebra in the digital space.

Math is beautiful and tremendously powerful in the hands of experts. On the other hand, for many students, math is frustrating and HARD....All those rules to memorize. All those steps to write and keep track of. In a time of powerful digital tools and online learning, most feel the easiest way to write and solve an equation is still by hand, on paper. We love paper, but shouldn't computers and touchscreens provide intuitive and fluid interfaces for math instead of getting in the way?

To make algebraic work experiential, a group of math educators, psychologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists - have developed Graspable Math (GM), algebra notation reconstructed for the digital space. GM is a dynamic algebra notation tool that allows users to manipulate algebraic expressions and observe an immediate response to their actions by dragging and dropping mouse, or using touch gestures. Thanks to GM, solving algebraic transformations no longer needs to be an arbitrary, rule-driven process, but instead the demonstration of one’s structural intuition. In GM, algebraic expressions turn into interactive objects and support students in flexible reasoning, exploring structure, and inquiring into how math works.

Using the GM as a foundation, Graspable Math Activities (GMA) - a student activity app with novel kinds of algebra practice and assessment tasks as developed. With the goal of supporting both students and teachers in the journey of learning and teaching algebra, the activities in GMA promotes procedural fluency while allowing students to focus on strategy and the connection between concepts and procedures.

GMA lets you find and share activities with a teacher community, let’s you assign them to students, and see their live step-by step work!

Because the GMA app is intended to supplement, not replace classroom teaching, the primary goal of this website is to help teachers who are interested in participating in research to integrate the app into their classroom practice. The 5 targets of this website are to:

    1. familiarize teachers with GM gestures and activity task types,

    2. provide resources to teachers to help them create their own GMA activities for their students,

    3. facilitate the implementation and integration of GM algebra activities into their classroom discourse,

    4. relate the intended learning outcomes of the algebra activities,

    5. reflect on how to use the teacher dashboard.

The resources for GMA found on this website were developed by the team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and are intended to help teachers use GMA in their classroom and also help us better collaborate with school districts, teachers, and students. We are currently looking for teachers and professionals to collaborate with us on this exciting project! If you are interested in helping develop content for GMA, participating in research, or learning more about the projects, please contact us at

Graspable Math Activities is a research project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences through a Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I and II grant (91990019C0034 and 91990018C0032)