Teaching Mathematics with Manipulatives

Mathematics needs to make sense to learners (and teachers).  Multiple representations - drawing pictures, using manipulatives, giving context with stories - all these help bring life to the abstract ideas of mathematics. I shared some basic thinking about this on the Corwin Blog in the fall and will develop these ideas further on this blog. 

  • How do we use manipulatives to model various problem situations?
  • How do manipulative models relate to visual representations such as number lines or bar models?
  • How do we help students connect manipulatives to the algorithms & procedures we use to make mathematical calculations more efficient?

I'll return to this space in January with a series on using manipulatives to teach fractions. 

What are your favorite manipulative tools?  What questions do you have about their use?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.