Manipulatives are basically tangible objects that help in the classification, multiplication ad calculation of different mathematical tasks. Fractions, patterns as well as equations, all of which together form a major chunk of this subject, can easily be solved using manipulatives.
Common manipulatives that are used in class to achieve this objective include attribute blocks, geometric shapes, unifix cubes, counting cubes as well as fraction bars. Everyday items such as marbles, buttons, chalks, dice, beans, pencils, etc. can also be included in the category of manipulatives. Not only these, the category of manipulatives includes virtual manipulatives as well. These kinds of manipulatives can be found in pictures, games and puzzles, wherein the child is supposed to engage colours and sounds to create a game out of the subject.
It is thus apparent that the concept of manipulatives is indeed a unique and brilliant one, which ensures that children continue to be intrigued by the subject, and that they continue to pursue it with interest.
Benefits of using manipulatives in the classroom
Those who advocate the use of manipulatives in the class firmly believe that these learning tools allow students to effectively construct their own understanding of the subject, and thereby these act as excellent learning aids.
Here are some other reasons why manipulatives should be freely used in class to enhance the learning experience of the students:
- Manipulatives enable students to explore new ideas and concepts, develop a deep understanding of the subject, and to then discuss how these ideas and concepts of math are applicable in real life.
- They make the process of learning very engaging and even shy and introvert students open up during this process.
- Since manipulatives make studies interesting, students willingly take part in the process. Eventually, the result and academic performance of such students improves, and they are able to grasp concepts better.
- They encourage active learning and group participation in these learning activities.
- Manipulatives are a great source of help in counting, sorting and organizing; and grid papers and 3D geometrical shapes aid young students to great extents.
Computers are also an example of manipulatives that are being widely used in the classroom. There exist countless other manipulatives as well, in the form of online sources, which can easily be incorporated in the daily teaching schedule by the teachers.
A lot of experts believe that manipulatives may prevent students from learning abstract concepts; but it cannot be denied that they have a number of advantages in the classroom, which makes it advisable to use them in the classroom.
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