Math manipulatives are tools that can help students of all abilities explore and understand math concepts. As noted by Anstrom (2006), “selecting and accessing the appropriate tools and processes for students with disabilities is critical to their understanding of mathematics” (p.11). Whether concrete or virtual, manipulatives can be supportive tools for learning.
Try it at your desk:
Concrete manipulatives are objects that can be viewed and held to show how math concepts are connected. Equals PreK contains instructional materials designed to teach foundational math skills. It contains objects and strategies that address the learning needs of a variety of student ability and age levels. Visit the T-TAC ODU Library to borrow both the Equals PreK and the Equals PreK Manipulative Kit to try concrete manipulatives with your students.
Try it on a computer:
Virtual manipulatives are interactive activities that can be accessed on your computer to teach math concepts. Virtual manipulatives can replace concrete manipulatives to provide visualization, help students make connections, and understand mathematical relations at the touch of a button (Anstrom 2006). Try these websites for interactive activities:
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Interactivate Try these math games with your students: Shape Sorter or Arithmetic Four
Try it on an iPad or Chrome:
Free Math Apps provide interactive activities on the iPad or Chrome browser/book. Interactive number line, number frame, math vocabulary cards, money relationships and more can be downloaded to your device.
Learn how to use manipulatives with engaging math lessons and activities found in:
Hands On Standards available in the T-TAC ODU Library.
Consider using manipulatives, whether your students need concrete or virtual, to increase their understanding of math concepts.
Anstrom, T. (2006). Supporting students in mathematics through the use of manipulatives.
Laski, E. V., Jor’dan, J. R., Daoust, C., & Murray, A. K. (2015). What makes mathematics manipulatives effective? Lessons from cognitive science and montessori education. SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015589588