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Topic: a question
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jan 31, 2011 5:25 PM

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Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: a question
Posted: Aug 19, 2003 10:44 PM
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I am not teaching in a classroom, as yet. I tutor on occasion, but I'm still
preservice in an ed graduate program (as a career changer). Our superb
instructor, Susan Schneider, gave us a treasure trove of different kinds of
home-made manipulatives in the curriculum course "Teaching Mathematics in the
Elementary Schools." The math topics and degree of introduction depended upon the
specific grade level. Our childhood-education curriculum covers K-6. We made
our own tangrams for geometry, and cut shapes from construction paper to make
flags for a manipulative lesson combining geometry with fractions, as two
examples. All of the hand-made manipulatives and games we crafted were from
inexpensive materials. These work as well as the costly wood and plastic
manufactured manipulatives (which I enjoy using).

Curriculum guides that include lesson plans and "Blackline Masters" or
separate activity books from regimented series such as Everyday Math include
patterns and instructions for constructing your own manipulatives. These are all
going to vary according to what one is trying to teach and illustrate or
demonstrate, specifically. Anything manufactured can also be improvised from cheaper

There are dozens of activity books available. Try visiting the Web site of
Educators Publishing Service <A HREF="">Educators Publishing Service
and Stern
Structural Arithmetic <A HREF="">Stern Structural Arithmetic Materials
to get an idea of
manufactured manipulatives. Catherine Stern was the "godmother" of hands-on math
teaching and the rods, etc., that Unifix and Cuisenaire, et al., all copied. The
books provide games for materials.

The interactive math Web sites use manipulative exercises in a
two-dimensional perspective, with programs for animated, immediate responses to children.
Some of the kids I've tutored can get something out of them (the ones who are
stronger in math than in reading) and others (the reverse type) can't, at all.
Here's a site that lists many other workable math Web sites: <A HREF="">Math Sites To
Use With Students

To sum it up, there is nothing better for learning math than direct, hands-on
"experiencing" of concrete demonstrations and illustrations of these abstract
concepts. (I even adapted childhood-ed manipulative techniques to help with
a university-level statistics class I'm taking at the moment. Sampling can be
illustrated with a "population" of jellybeans or m&m's and bell curves can be
cut out from paper.)

The textbook we used in the above-mentioned math-teaching course, which I
just completed this past July, was also excellent; I see it referenced
frequently. It's by John Van de Walle and it's titled Elementary and Middle School
Mathematics. We used the 5th edition (2001), but even the older versions are
still quite applicable.

Hope this helps. I'm looking forward to putting the wonderful portfolio of
things I got from this summer course to work for me in a children's class some
day soon.

(Posted and e-mailed)

In a message dated 08/19/03 2:17:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> When you suggest manipulatives, what specifically do YOU suggest and use?
> Thanks.

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Nancy L Markus
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