Thursday, May 16, 2013

Workshop Wed...Thursday! Math Manipulatives

Hi all,

I am going to break an unwritten blogging rule and post twice in one day.  That is because I finally have time to link up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.  Right now I can claim that I am fashionably late, but I can't pull that off much longer.  Haha.

This week's theme is math manipulatives.  The way I use manipulatives has changed a lot this year with the implementation of our new Singapore-based math program, Math in Focus.  The curriculum places a huge emphasis on understanding place value and how numbers can be manipulated e.g. 4 can be 4 and 0, 1 and 3, or 2 and 2.  Also, 32 can be regrouped from 3 tens and 2 ones to 2 tens and 12 ones etc.

In order to build student understanding, I started having the students use many different kinds of manipulatives to represent tens and ones.  I actually created math bins that have gallon bags of different kinds of manipulatives in them.  I forgot to take a picture of those.  Oops.

Anyways, I will describe the bins.  They are just basic colorful bins from the Dollar Tree.  Here's what I have in the different gallon bags:

  • base ten blocks
  • craft stick bundles
  • bean sticks 
  • unifix cubes
  • mini straws in bundles
  • binder rings with beads (only used in small groups with me)
I put the bins on the carpet or on the students' table groups and then let them choose what to use unless I need them to all use the same thing for some reason.  The kids like to choose and they seem to really get that ten means ten no matter what it looks like.

So, that's how I use math manipulatives.  I will try to remember to take pictures of the bins to add to this post, but for now, here are some pics of the different manipulatives.

So, what do you do with math manipulatives?  Link up with Jivey to share.  

Also, don't forget to share your End of the Year Gift Ideas for Tricks of the Trade Thursday!


  1. How do you like Math in Focus? Our district is looking at programs to pilot, and that one is on the list. I'd love to hear some feedback from someone who is using it!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  2. Thanks for linking up! Fashionably late is my specialty. ;-)
    ideas by jivey
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