Q&A #6575

Homemade Math Manipulatives

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jul 05, 2001 at 07:29:44
Subject: Re: Homemade Math Manipulatives

Jeanne gave you some great ideas...   here are a few more...

I cut a slit from the edge to the center of two different colored paper
plates (cut a radius of each plate) and then slip the two plates together by
turning one paper plate perpendicular to the other, and pushing the two slits

When you turn the plates, one color will slip by the other and create

Having students create their own fraction strips will help them with their
fraction sense. Just give them strips of paper and have them fold and label
halves for one strip, fourths for the next, and eighths for the next.

Thirds are more difficult for little fingers to manage, but older students
should be able to work them out, and then you can easily get sixths.

Tangrams are also fun to make, and give students a chance to use quite a bit
of geometry vocabulary in the process.

Fold a square in half diagonally, and cut or tear on that fold. (Folding
repeatedly back and forth will weaken the paper enough so that it is easy to
tear, and the torn edges will also provide a guide for students in solving
the puzzle).

Set one of the triangles aside, and find the midpoint of the hypotenuse (the
longest side of this right triangle). You can do this by folding the two
"bottom" (acute -- smaller than right triangle) corners together, and
creasing the fold just a bit right on the hypotenuse (the long edge of this
right triangle, the edge opposite the right triangle). This fold doesn't
need to go all the way up the edge to the other corner, since you only did it
to mark the midpoint of that side. Fold the right angle corner down to meet
the midpoint, and tear or cut on that fold. Set this triangle aside.

Fold one acute (smaller than a right angle -- it is one of the lower corners
if you have the longest edge on the bottom) corner of the trapezoid in so it
meets that same midpoint. Tear or cut. Set aside that small triangle.

The next step is the most difficult to explain without demonstrating... but I
will try to do it clearly. Take one of the "upper" corners (an obtuse angle --
larger than a right angle) and fold it down to meet the same midpoint you have
been using. Cut or rip on that fold, and set aside the parallelogram you have

Now you have a trapezoid left. Find the longest edge, and fold it to locate
the midpoint (it should be the smae midpoint you already found!) Fold and
tear or cut along that line. You should have a small square and a triangle.
Those ore the seven pieces you need for the tangrams.

 -Gail, for the T2T service

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