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Mastering Math Manipulatives, Grades 4-8

Mastering Math Manipulatives, Grades 4-8
Hands-On and Virtual Activities for Building and Connecting Mathematical Ideas

Burst: 70+ Activities!

October 2021 | 288 pages | Corwin
Put math manipulatives to work in your classroom and make teaching and learning math both meaningful and productive.

Would you like to bring math learning to life and make it more concrete, relevant, and accessible to your students? Do you wish you could do more with the manipulatives buried in your supply closet? Do you want to more effectively use virtual manipulatives in your distance learning? Whether physical or virtual, commercial or home-made, manipulatives are a powerful learning tool to help students discover and represent mathematical concepts.

Mastering Math Manipulatives includes everything you need to integrate math manipulatives—both concrete and virtual—into math learning. Each chapter of this richly illustrated, easy-to-use guide focuses on a different powerful tool, such as base ten blocks, fraction manipulatives, unit squares and cubes, Cuisenaire Rods, Algebra tiles and two-color counters,  geometric strips and solids, geoboards, and others, and includes a set of activities that demonstrate the many ways teachers can leverage manipulatives to model and reinforce math concepts for all learners. It features:

  • Classroom strategies for introducing math manipulatives, including commercial, virtual, and hand-made manipulatives, into formal math instruction.
  • Step-by-step instructions for over 70 activities that work with any curriculum, including four-color photos, printable work mats, and demonstration videos.
  • Handy charts that sort activities by manipulative type, math topic, domains aligned with standards, and grade-level appropriateness.

It's time to dive in and join in the journey toward making manipulatives meaningful so math learning is concrete, profound, and effective for your students!


Introduction: We Know Manipulatives Matter, but….
Chapter 1: Base Ten Blocks
Chapter 2: Fraction Manipulatives
Chapter 3: Cuisenaire Rods
Chapter 4: Unit Squares & Cubes
Chapter 5: Algebra Tiles & Two-color Counters
Chapter 6: Geometric Strips & Solids
Chapter 7: Geoboards
Closing Chapter: Continuing the Journey

Free resources

Activity 2.6

Activity 2.6

This activity provides steps to multiply a fraction by a fraction.

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Activity 5.2

Activity 5.2

Adding integers with like and unlike signs.

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Activity 6.3

Activity 6.3

This activity focuses on attributes of polygons, with an emphasis on angles.

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"These exceptional books are overflowing with worthwhile activities. Going well beyond sharing ideas, they illuminate how manipulative(s) can be used to support mathematical thinking. A particularly important feature of this book is the ongoing discussion of making connections among representations. With such intentionality and engagement in multiple representations, we can ensure that every child become confident and competent in mathematics."

Jennifer Bay-Williams
University of Louisville, KY

"Every math teacher knows that using manipulatives is a good idea. Now, with Mastering Math Manipulatives, every math teacher can now how to use them best. It unpacks how different manipulatives work, provides rich tasks for using them, and teaches how to maximize their effectiveness. It includes virtual manipulatives! This is a must-have for every math teacher!"

John SanGiovanni
Howard County Public Schools, MD

"I highly recommend Mastering Math Manipulatives. Manipulatives play a vital role in developing a solid conceptual understanding of the math, even at the middle school level. Not only do the authors share wonderful ideas of how to use a variety of manipulatives; they also share reasons why that manipulative is effective for the given topic as well as ways to further develop that concept. This resource is great for those who are new to using manipulatives as well as those who are experienced in using them."

Kevin Dykema
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Mattawan Middle School

"I expected to like this book, but I flat out love it! Whether you are a veteran teacher, a new teacher just starting your journey, or a parent trying to help your child at home, this book is a wonderful and practical resource. While manipulatives are clearly the star here, solid instructional strategies supported by just the right amount of research provide a strong supporting cast. Each chapter features a manipulative and includes ideas for organization, classroom management, distance learning, homemade alternatives, and multiple lessons highlighting the use of the manipulative. This is a book you will use all year long!"

Donna Boucher

"Sara Delano Moore and Kimberly Rimbey have written a robust and immensely helpful guide to using manipulatives for profound student learning. In short, they have done all the deep, hard work laying out for us the intellectual and pedagogical queries we need to examine when considering using particular manipulatives—or even in deciding to use manipulatives at all! And they have done so with insight on matters of attitude and mindset, the availability of student support, fair accessibility, the role of the virtual, and more. Practical. Readable. Concrete. This is a winner of a guide."

James Tanton

"Sara Delano Moore and Kimberly Rimbey masterfully show us why something we know works actually works—that manipulatives are powerful and essential tools to help children learn mathematics. This book serves as a guide to help teachers in their classrooms and in their PLCs effectively make judicious use of manipulatives. Moore and Rimbey empower teachers to use sound learning theories to select the most appropriate manipulative for a particular topic and task. Mathematics educators can use this book to sharpen their mathematical knowledge for teaching and mathematics leaders can use this book as a reference for building curriculum framework documents and engaging in deep collegial coaching conversations. The best part? Students will benefit from a much deeper understanding of why the mathematics works as it does. Every mathematics teacher needs a highly dog-eared version of this book in their professional library!"

Paul Gray
NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education and Cosenza & Associates, LLC

"I thought I was aware of most everything I needed to know about the use of manipulatives in teaching mathematics at the elementary level—but Sara Delano Moore and Kimberly Rimbey proved me wrong. Mastering Math Manipulatives: Hands-On and Virtual Activities for Building and Connecting Mathematical Ideas makes a significant contribution in several ways: First, it consistently links the various representations in a useful visual that reminds the reader what mental connections students should be making from this experience. The use of multiple representations is critical to support all students particularly those with special needs in mathematics as per the new IES Practice Guide. The book also is practical and full of “I can use this tomorrow” examples across multiple content areas. An important read."

Karen S. Karp
Johns Hopkins University, MD

"As a mathematics coach and consultant I have visited dozens of math closets, those dusty corners of every school where you can find the tools you need to unlock hands-on, student-centered learning in your classroom. Mastering Math Manipulatives takes you to those places, yes, but it also takes you to the future with connections to virtual manipulatives, exploring the strengths and limitations of each. In this book you will find seasoned, practical advice and the kind of targeted lessons and directions you need to feel confident enough to dust off those tools and put them to good use. As I like to say, “Put your pencils down and get thinking!”"

Kimberly Morrow-Leong

"What a tremendous resource for teachers of mathematics! Sara Delano Moore and Kimberly Rimbey provide helpful tips and practical strategies for incorporating hands-on and virtual manipulatives into daily lessons. This book identifies a wealth of versatile manipulatives that can be used across grade levels and math domains, offers tips for planning and management, and shares sample lessons. And it includes critical discussions about making connections between varied representations to deepen students’ understanding of the math skill or concept. The organization of the book is easy to follow and allows teachers to jump in and out as needed to find just what works for their students. If you are looking for useful tips and effective strategies for incorporating hands-on and virtual manipulatives into your math teaching, this is the book for you!"

Sue O’Connell

"It’s always so gratifying to find a book filled with the answers to the questions we have asked over and over again. There is widespread belief in the power of concrete materials but the questions I hear are “Which manipulatives are best?”, “Where and when do I fit them in?”, “How do I best use them?”, and “Why are these essential tools for learning?” This wonderful book answers each of these questions with clarity and classroom tested examples. Whether you teach, coach, or administrate in Grades 4 to 8, there is no doubt that the ideas and activities found in this book will strengthen the teaching and significantly enhance the learning of mathematics of your students."

Steve Leinwand
American Institutes for Research, Washington DC

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ISBN: 9781071816073
CAD$ 52.95

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