How Can Manipulatives Enhance Classroom Learning?

Mathematical skills are used by all of us in everyday life. From balancing the checkbook at home to taking inventory at work or leaving a tip at a restaurant. Making sure these skills are fine tuned in adulthood begins at a young age in the classroom and one way to do this is through math manipulatives for school

Math manipulatives are concrete objects or tools used to provide learners with a hands-on learning technique, such as blocks, charts, whiteboards, and online software. Learning new mathematical concepts can be difficult for children, but math manipulatives provide visuals on how a math problem is solved can help. Below, we discuss how math manipulatives can make  the learning process go a little more smoothly.

What are Math Manipulatives?

As stated above, math manipulatives are physical objects used in math lessons and classrooms to turn an abstract idea into a physical representation, making them easier to understand and visualize. They can be used in various math lessons, such as graphing, decimals, geometry, and much more. 

How Can Math Manipulatives Be Helpful in the Classroom?

Every student learns in a different way so classroom manipulatives can be ideal for educators looking to provide a variety of ways to understand ideas. They allow students to work at their own pace and spend extra time on more difficult math concepts. While some math concepts are more difficult than others to visualize on paper, using math manipulatives also allows students to visually see the process of changing numbers and how problems are solved.

There are several places to buy math manipulatives, specifically in school supply stores or online. You can also consider purchasing simple, inexpensive blocks for younger grades. To help you get started in determining which tools are best for your classroom, below is a list of five most common and effective manipulatives:

What are the Most Common and Effective Classroom Manipulatives?

  • Dominoes  

Dominoes are a versatile tool and are known as one of the best foundational classroom manipulatives. Specifically helpful in the younger grade levels, they provide students with visuals for concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. As for educators, they provide an easy way to quickly gauge students’ understanding and can be used in both individual or group projects. They can be arranged in various ways and create space for many different games to aid in learning experiences. 

  • Pattern blocks 

Pattern blocks are optimal geometry lesson tools. They come in many different shapes, such as triangles, rectangles, squares, and more. Students can use them to experiment with piecing them together, creating new shapes or images. They’re also a great tool for learning basic math skills and abstract concepts, such as lessons in fractions, and patterns. Many educators find pattern blocks necessary to have in the classroom because of their versatile qualities. 

  • Online math games 

Online math games are a unique classroom virtual manipulator to add into your teaching style. Regardless of your set up traditional, virtual, hybrid, or homeschoolinghere are an endless range of math games online to choose from. They are also a great option for summer months or long school breaks during the school year because they don’t really feel like homework for students. 

  • Fraction tiles & fraction circles 

Learning fractions and solving problems with fractions are especially difficult for students, but fraction tiles and circles are manipulative tools that are a great option to help further understand fraction concepts. While they are different manipulatives, they do serve similar purposes. 

Fraction tiles are typically flat, rectangular pieces in various colors and lengths. They have corresponding fractions printed on the surface for students to look at them and compare. The different lengths are used to visually see how fractions work together to create a whole.

Fraction circles are similar, but are parts of a circle used to see how fractions can add up to one. 

  • Geoboards 

Geoboards are a great tool to use for geometry lessons. They are small pegboards that use string or rubber bands to create many different shapes. These manipulative tools are ideal for teaching students to learn and recognize shapes. 

Benefits of Using Manipulatives in the Classroom

  • Increase engaged and interactive learning 

Math manipulatives not only create exciting, unique ways to learn in the classroom, but they also provide educators with different math lessons to help students grasp a concept. No two students are alike and learn the same, therefore teachers need various ways to teach one idea. Hands-on learning can be a huge help for those students struggling with math concepts. Math builds on itself, so it’s crucial for young students to fully understand the foundations of math and basic concepts. Math manipulatives help diversify your teaching style and keep your students engaged.

  • Enhance problem-solving skills 

Manipulatives in the classroom help students enhance their problem-solving skills and apply those concepts in the real world. Since students interpret problems in all different ways, math manipulatives are ideal as they allow for a variety of methods to solve problems and freedom to approach solutions differently. 

  • Build confidence 

Being able to successfully solve math problems can build your students’ confidence immensely. Many math manipulatives are self-correcting, so they can work individually on problems and work at their own pace. When they’re able to understand and apply concepts on their own, students are given the confidence on the lesson and encouragement to move forward to new concepts. 

Contact SchoolMart to Implement Manipulatives into your Classroom.

The information above provides optimal, beginner steps for implementing math manipulatives in your daily teaching lessons. Contact SchoolMart today to find the best math manipulative kits for your classroom creating a new and exciting learning experience for all!