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Learning Math and Loving It with Manipulatives and Games
When we think of methods for teaching math to children, the first things that probably come to mind are flash cards, repetition and memorization, circle charts, workbooks, and more. But one method you may not have thought of, or even heard of, is the use of manipulatives and educational games.
What are the benefits of using manipulatives and educational games to learn math?
First of all, you may be wondering what educational manipulations are? Our official definition of “handle” means “to deal with or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). In other words, it is doing something or manipulating something with the hands. But what is the relationship with the teaching of mathematics?
Well, when you want to teach kids about money, what do you do? You pull out coins and bills and explain how much each is worth and how they relate to each other. This is a hands-on approach to teaching the value of money using manipulatives.
Educational math manipulations are things that students can actually touch and pick up with their hands. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Manipulations can give the student a practical three-dimensional picture of the concepts they are learning. And, best of all, they’re easy to use.
Manipulatives are usually cubes, sticks, tiles or cards with or without numbers on them. If your child is just starting out, you will use those without numbers. An example of this is the Cuisenaire rods.
Cuisenaire rods are a collection of rectangular rods, each in a different color and size. They help students visualize problems involving fractions and can be used to teach the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Once your child has learned the basics, you can use cubes, rods, or tiles with numbers and symbols on them. These are used like flash cards.
But what if you want to teach geometric shapes, fractions or patterns?
First, there are geometric manipulations. These can be used to teach children about cylinders, spheres, cubes, pyramids and cones. Some geometric manipulations are integer. Others are divided into parts to make it easier to demonstrate the addition or subtraction of those parts. Suppliers of geometric manipulatives usually provide an activity book with lots of lessons to help the student understand geometric relationships.
There are also manipulatives that teach fractions. These are usually made of foam or plastic. They can be used to help the student understand the relationship between whole things and parts of things.
Manipulations that teach designing and modeling skills are very popular. Maybe it is
as they are often used in crafts. Crafts can be fun, but how many kids realize that they’re developing their problem-solving skills while they’re making crafts? Pretty sneaky, huh?
Games are another way to enhance learning.
We all know that kids need to learn their math facts. Although some children may learn these facts the first time they see them, most children learn by seeing them over and over again. They learn by repetition. Just using flash cards or workbook pages can be boring and uninspiring.
But by using a game, children get the necessary repetition in an interesting and fun way. And there are games available for all levels of learning. For example, the Sum Swamp game is for beginners who need to practice with additions and subtractions. Totally Tut is another game that helps practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as the order of operations.
Does your child need to practice logic, strategy or pattern recognition? Tic Tac Twice is a fun game that will surely help you. Players use two boards at a time. A good move on one board may not be a good move on the other. Players must place four game pieces in a row across, up, down, or diagonally across a board. This game is based on algebraic principles.
Geoshapes is a slightly more difficult game. Students will plan strategies and calculate risks while practicing with their math. The goal is to be the first to fill a figure with combinations of geometric shapes.
Whatever your child’s learning goals, there are games and other tools to help. Manipulatives and educational games are some of the often overlooked tools in our educational arsenal that can be used to both teach and entertain. While traditional methods of teaching math that have proven their worth certainly should not be abandoned, educational manipulatives and games can and should be used as a resource to overcome those short attention spans that most children experience. are famous.
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