13 reasons why mathematicians prefer chalkboards to whiteboards

why do mathematicians prefer chalkboards to whiteboards? Whiteboards are clean and don’t produce any dust. What are the things that make them attached to the old board generation?

In this article, we’re going to discover 13 principal reasons why mathematicians prefer using chalkboards.

1 – You can merge colors

Mathematicians love to use blackboard because it gives them more flexibility. For instance, you can merge 2 to 3 colors at once without having a problem with chalk, making that with markers is very difficult and barely impossible.

Markers have ink, which makes the merging color operation hard and uncoverable. So, having only 2 chalk color pieces allow you to have a third color by merging them and creating a new different color.

That is more flexible, and professors can’t do it using markers on whiteboards.

2 – Chalk is handy

0.38 inches is the diameter of the chalk piece, while markers are thicker two times than a single chalk piece. That creates problems and makes it hard to deal with markers like chalk pieces.

With chalk, a professor could write much smaller than markers. So it is handier than any market you could find in the market. In addition, a lot of mathematicians love to use two colors at once to draw diagrams or graphs and make them an appealing look.

That is impossible, your fingers won’t be able to hand two slippery 0.8-inch markers at the same time. So using a double-colored technic is impossible on whiteboards.

3 – Whiteboard markers are expensive

Markers are costing 10 times more than chalks do, which creates a big difference in math and physics classes where writing inboard is intensive and consumes a lot of tools. An average person could write 1800 words per day while a professional could overcome that.

Supposing that mathematicians are writing on boards 1800 words a day which is 54000 a month, this is a lot. Most professors say that markers are lasting with them for 3 months in intensive use, which depends on the quality and how often they write.

But no matter how much markers could last chalk is still far cheaper than markers. 1 chalk box is costing 1$ compared to 1 marker pen.

4 – Whiteboards are difficult to clean

Cleaning a whiteboard is more difficult than a chalkboard, especially when a professor or mathematician forgets to erase a day before leaving. When marker inks spend 24 hours it makes the erasing operation much harder and more painful.

You need to apply more effort to erase the whiteboard, regarding that many stains stay on the board. As a result, the board becomes messy. This is not happening with chalkboards. In difficult cases, you could use some water, and then you are.

whiteboards require using specific technic to use them correctly without any damage that can shorten their life span.

5 – Whiteboards in lecture halls tend to be much smaller.

According to Everwhiteboard the average size of whiteboard used in schools or offices is 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide, while chalkboard can go away from that. For this reason, many mathematicians prefer chalkboards to whiteboards.

The whiteboard isn’t much bigger than the chalkboard which forces mathematicians to continuously erase the board. They say that is not effective to explain something complex like mathematics to students.

They need to take the maximum of space to go back and explain well their theories such as in algebra or calculus.

6 – Marker ink leaves unwashable stains on your hands

According to Healthline, it takes 2 to 3 days to remove an ink marker stain from your skin. So this is what makes a lot of mathematicians prefer using chalkboards over whiteboards. That happens because professors are used to erasing chalk with their hands.

This happens unconsciously but unfortunately, it has double issues, the first problem is creating a mess and secondly picking stains on skin that you must wait 2 days to get rid of. But for teaching as a professional doing this habit means always being stained with ink which could be terrible for women.

So professors or teachers are forced to use their whiteboard erases that most specialists don’t recommend using because they scratch the whiteboard along the time.

7 – Whiteboard creates visibility problems

The whiteboards are reflecting 90% of the light which is bad and good at the same time. Mathematicians who prefer chalkboards over whiteboards say that whiteboards are so much reflective and require a continuous regulation of room lights.

The other problem whiteboards are known for, is the apparition of blind spots Due to the reflectivity nature which can be very annoying for students.

Otherwise, a lot of people hate whiteboards, when someone has written before you and didn’t erase well the board. You have to put a double effort to get rid of dried stains if you want students to not get confused between what you wrote and didn’t do.

8 – Chalk doesn’t have a shelf life like markers

According to Mathasstewart, the life span of markers is between 1 to 2 years, But letting marks without a cap can decrease the life span to 6 months or less depending on the quality of the marker and environmental circumstances like temperature and humidity.

The unplanned marker cases are numerous. It is highly expectable to forget to put a cap on the marker.

Chalk doesn’t have any shelf life, you can use them when you are unless they don’t get wet out. Regarding that, you could dry them under the sun and reuse them again. But no one would care, because chalk is so cheap.

9 – Markers drop ink unexpectedly

Getting rid of normal marker stains could take 15 minutes to 30 soaking. But for some kinds of inks, they stay permanently and don’t get removed at all. In addition, removing ink is a hard procedure that requires different products and a lot of effort.

Making one mistake during ink removal means throwing your shirt. This is what made a lot of mathematicians to prefer stay working on chalkboards and prevent using whiteboards.

Especially for markers that have bad quality, ink drop accidents are frequent and could happen unexpectedly at any time. So, many professors and teachers don’t want to ruin their shirts using markers.

10 – Is hard to draw

Whiteboard has 0.42 as a friction coefficient which is not good for writing. It makes writing over smooth, which students or professors lose control of, and make it hard for them to draw or make straight lines.

You can notice that writing quality decreases by 50% when people are moving from whiteboard to chalkboard. As a result, make a lot of mathematicians keep using chalkboards over whiteboards.

Otherwise making a thick line at once is impossible to do with markers, whereas chalk users can choose any thickness line they want from 0.5cm to 5cm with one chalk piece.

If you want to draw a thick line with markers you need to buy a specific one or spend a lot of time making parallel lines that will look horrible at the end.

you could watch this video and see what it could be done with traditional chalk.

11- Is a habit

Chalkboards have more than 200 years of use, so many generations studied using these tools whereas whiteboards were not invented until 1950 and were commonly used in the ’90s of the last century. The majority of this generation has studied with blackboards or chalkboards.

So changing people’s habits is not something easy, especially for mathematicians who prefer using chalkboards over whiteboards due to the reason that we noticed above.

12- You don’t know when will dry up

The average markers are taking from 6 to 12 of months use, talking about good quality and not intensive use. But for mathematicians or people who write a lot, you will never know when they will dry out.

Otherwise, letting markers without a cap, makes them dry fast than constructor predictions, which so many people forget about. So the exact time of duration is impossible to determine.

Even if you know that a given marker will last 6 or 12 mounts. Do you still remember when you bought it?

Some signs could warn you about changing markers but are still not exact or effective.

So markers or whiteboard users are always forced to duplicate their markers to work fluently.

13 – Loving the scratchy feeling

Many people love using chalkboards for a scratchy feeling and sound heard from writing on blackboards. It is more common and acceptable than whiteboard sound that a lot of people hate such mathematicians.

But what makes mathematicians prefer using chalkboards to whiteboards is a portion of them have the sensibility of marker whiteboard sounds. It annoys them and doesn’t let them focus on the lessons.


The 13 reasons that we noticed in our article are the principal reasons why mathematicians prefer chalkboards to whiteboards. But chalkboards have always a dark side that can not be suitable for a lot of people.

People who have chronic breath issues or skin allergies are forbidden to deal with chalkboards. So whiteboards are more fittable for them. Otherwise, some professors prefer using iPad to make lessons or work which makes us ask the question :

iPads or tablets can replace paper?


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.