Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why Use Manipulatives?

Mathematics manipulatives are becoming increasingly important to provide elementary students with hands on learning.  The results of Gresham’s study in October, 2007, revealed a decrease in mathematics anxiety after the preservice teachers had completed a mathematics methods course that involved using manipulatives and hands on approaches to teaching mathematics content.  Manipulatives are available to aid students visually and kinaesthetically while making abstract concepts concrete. It has become accepted that manipulatives are an excellent way to make math real for students by utilizing concrete objects to solve problems or demonstrate abstract concepts.  

Manipulatives List
¨Attribute blocks
¨Fraction circles
¨Fraction squares
¨Geoboards & colored elastics
¨Large dice
¨Large geometric shapes
¨Pattern blocks
¨Connecting cuisenaire rods
¨Coins & paper money
¨Bean counters
¨Fruit Loops/ Cheerios / M & M’s
¨Magnetic fraction 3D shapes
¨Number spinners
¨Plastic Base 10 blocks
¨Pocket chart with numbers 0 - 100
¨Small geometric shapes
¨Two sided counters
¨Unifix® cubes & accessories
¨Wooden blocks
¨Measuring Cups
¨Popsicle Sticks
¨Balance scales & weights
...and more!

Some schools have an ample supply of manipulatives while others may not.  It may be possible for teachers to share with a colleague or even create something of their own.  Manipulatives found around the house such as fruit loops can be just as effective as expensive ones that are purchased. 

Connecting Cubes
¨Estimating and Measuring
¨Addition and Subtraction
¨Multiplying and Dividing

Primary students will love counting and making patterns with these blocks.  Older students can use them to make groups while multiplying and dividing.  In grade 6, students can make rectangular prisms with these connecting cubes and find their volume.  Using manipulatives in groups is an effective method to motivate global learners and interest them in your lesson.

 The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

This is an excellent website to find free interactive games that children can use while exploring the use of manipulatives.  Each game has a link to instructions and the standards which it applies to.  This website will be a useful resource in the classroom. 

My other posts on Math Anxiety
Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers: An Overview 
Symptoms of Mathematics Anxiety
The Effects of Mathematics Anxiety
Why is Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Worrisome? 
Where Does Mathematics Anxiety in Preservice Teachers Stem From?
What Strategies Can Be Provided to Preservice Teachers to Decrease Mathematics Anxiety?
The Power of Positivity 
Examining Learning Styles
Why Use Manipulatives? 
Mathematics in Children's Literature 


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