Saturday, November 19, 2011

Virtual Manipulatives: Inquiry Learning

This is the fourth 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 posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts, Part 3-Access Materials/Added Value)

Virtual manipulatives help students learn through inquiry by providing teachers with easily adjustable visual tools.  Students can test their ideas, explore the effects of changing variables and formulate theories based on results.

Below are three manipulatives that help students learn through inquiry.
 Area and Perimeter Relationship

Students investigate and form theories about the relationship between area and perimeter by changing one variable and observing the resulting change in the other.

Kids and Cookies

Students explore the concept of fractions by sharing cookies equally between different numbers of students.  Both “fraction of a group” and “fraction of a whole” concepts can be explored.

The Pumpkin Patch

Students group and sort pumpkins into their own self-created categories.