Sunday, August 9, 2009
Assessing the Value of Learning Math by Using Manipulatives
Manipulatives are any various objects designed to be moved or arranged by hand as a means of developing motor skills or understanding abstractions, especially in mathmatics. Children can use these manipulatives to get concret pictures of abstract concepts. Research indicates that the best way for students to learn is in three phases: first, by seeing the mathmatical concepts in a concrete, hands-on way; second, by drawing pictures that represent the same things as the concrete; and finally, by moving to the abstract, theoretical concepts.
The use of manipulatives would be essential for the first phase of learning.
Everything we know about young children dictates that early math programs must be concrete, filled with play and exploration. It's commonly believed that when you hear something, 10% of the information is retained. If you see it, hear it and say it, 40% is retained. But, if you also handle it, you retain 70%-100% of the information. Using math manipulatives, handling concrete objects helps the student to learn and retain abstract concepts in math.
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