[Numeracy 203] Re: Using manipulatives

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Susan Fontenot sfontenot1 at student.gsu.edu
Sun Feb 21 15:00:39 EST 2010

I have not taught adult education but I have taught young learners struggling with math skills. I would suggest when using manipulatives not use something that has value in itself. It can be confusing to some people to use coins or cards because they focus on the value of the manipulative rather than the skill being taught. It can also be more time consuming using manipulatives because some students count every single object until they learn to count in groups such as 5's and 10's.

Hope this helps!
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of jasonsmullen at gmail.com [jasonsmullen at gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2010 1:04 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 202] Re: Using manipulatives

When I was teaching AE I used manipulatives to teach math all of the time. Cuisinaire rods' base 10. Blocks, playing cards, toothpicks, sandwich bags, ceramic tiles.
Sometimes it was very successful other times not so much but the successes far outweigh the failures.
Currently as an instructional specialist I stress to all of my teachers the value of tying something concrete to math concepts and demonstrate to them a new way to use a manipulative to teach nearly every time we meet.
Jason Mullen
ABE- GED Instructional Specialist
Chesapeake College Adult Education

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Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 12:00:06
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Subject: Numeracy Digest, Vol 2, Issue 26

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Today's Topics:

1. [Numeracy 200] Re: manipulatives (Jacqueline Kiefer)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:34:35 -0700
From: Jacqueline Kiefer <jkiefer at dacc.nmsu.edu>
Subject: [Numeracy 200] Re: manipulatives
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
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Susan, I too am interested in what you learn from Making Math Real.

I understand what you mean about manipulatives becoming one more layer of confusion. When I used algebra tiles to explain algebra, I BOMBED BIG TIME.
However, when I used them to explain integers, there were light bulbs coming on all over the classroom. A deck of cards and a game of Integer Showdown is also great.

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Leslie Hunten
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 7:39 AM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 198] Re: manipulatives

Susan, please do share what you learn from Making Math Real!


On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 3:00 PM, Susan Jones <SUJones at parkland.edu<mailto:SUJones at parkland.edu>> wrote:
Nobody uses manipulatives here, which I think is a shame.

Hard to make the bridge from concrete to abstract without the concrete, though we sometimes can anyway.

We do use some visuals -- but not much of that, either.

I wish I could say that the folks working with the more basic than pre-algebra did, but I'm 99 44/100% sure they don't either. We explain and wish and wonder why students don't connect math to the real world...

That said, there's not a lot of evidence (either formal research or anecdotal) to say manipulatives help... I've seen them be one more layer of confusion, if the connection between the concrete to the symbols isn't solidified. One reason I'm really looking forward to the Making Math Real overview is that I have a feeling this does that (or at least makes a good effort;)) and would give me the tools to try.

Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
sujones at parkland.edu<mailto:sujones at parkland.edu>

>>> Jaye Luke <flipfloprun at gmail.com<mailto:flipfloprun at gmail.com>> 2/18/2010 11:52 AM >>>

I haven't taught a math class for adult learners...yet:) But I am curious
1- Are you using manipulatives?
2- If you are using manipulatives are they specifically for math (cuisenaire
rods) or more generalizable (tokens/tiles)?
3- Do you think the manipulatives are beneficial and why?