Thursday, September 22, 2011

Virtual Manipulatives: Explore Difficult Concepts

This is the second in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous post can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing)

Virtual manipulatives help students to explore difficult concepts in depth.  They help to make abstract concepts concepts more easily understandable with visual tools.  A classic example is using base ten blocks to illustrate “regrouping” in a multi-digit addition or subtraction algorithm.  

Below are three manipulatives that help students explore difficult concepts.

Hopping Number Line

Explore basic addition, subtraction or skip counting by hopping an animal along a number line.

Bounded Fraction Pointer

Practice comparing and ordering fractions, simplifying fractions, or finding equivalent fractions on a number line that adjusts instantly.  Create fractions visually and then watch them plotted on the number line.

Multiplication Arrays

Explore multiplication by viewing arrays paired with the traditional algorithm and with the lattice method.

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