[Numeracy 197] Re: manipulatives

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Leslie Hunten lhunten at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 23:37:31 EST 2010

Manipulables, realia, hands-on, whatever you want to call it - it's
essential in the math class! Students need to connect this airy-fairy,
abstract math stuff with real life and things they already know. Otherwise,
even at best, it stays abstract and remote for them. I wrack my brain to
pull in every piece of reality that I can. We have very little money in
adult ed to work with, in my state, although we have a few sets of plastic
fraction pie pieces. So here are some things I've tried:

A student had access to high-accuracy calipers, so he brought them in and
demonstrated how to use them. I expanded on that by bringing in a set of
measuring tapes, rulers and meter sticks.

I gave "tour rides" in my Prius around the parking lot to demo a hybrid car,
and showed the energy output display and 45 mpg gas mileage.

Fractions can be explored with egg cartons, cardboard drink holders, wine
bottle boxes with dividers, and paper plates. Have students cut them apart
into equal-sized parts.

Proportion can be explored through pictures of a face (I use Farrah Fawcett,
Mona Lisa is also good). Print out sets that have three in different sizes
but are proportionate, and two or three more that are out of proportion.
Have students trace the frame size of the portrait on graph paper to see
what proportionate means.

With stopwatches and clipboards, students can be asked to record and then
compare how fast several different people walk.

Vinyl floor tiles can be used to demo area; sections of picket fencing or
picture frame molding can be used to demo perimeter.

The possibilities are endless!


On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:52 AM, Jaye Luke <flipfloprun at gmail.com> wrote:


> 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?



> Cheers

> jaye


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