Virtual Manipulatives don’t replace the very traditional concrete materials students use during the developmental stages of learning math (counters, base 10 blocks, snap-cubes, etc.). Instead, think of Virtual Manipulatives as an opportunity to demonstrate the proper use of materials. They can also recreate a situation that only technology makes possible.

For example, a simple mouse click can reveal 2 hundreds flats and convert to the equivalent 20 ten rods or 200 unit cubes. An interactive whiteboard (IWB) allows a class to experience this demonstration in a larger format, with the freedom to create any situation since the inventory of “virtual” materials is endless. Traditionally, teachers had to purchase additional, transparent sets of manipulatives to work with an overhead. For years, teacher had to model manipulative use on a table with upwards of 30 students crowding around to see.

Today, students have the opportunity to actively participate in the exploration of Virtual Manipulatives and tend to transition to individual use of “real” manipulatives with more success. There’s more to Virtual Manipulatives than counters and blocks. Teacher favorites include the Number Balance, Algebra Tiles, and the animated Geometric Solid Figures.

Preview the “What Can I Use With My Interactive Whiteboard” videos to see screen shots of sample topics and activities correlated to Kindergarten, Primary and Intermediate grade-level content. Comment on this post with a link to your favorite “virtual manipulatives” sites that offer public access.

## 4 comments

## kellitrainer says:

December 1, 2010 at 9:33 pm (UTC -7)

Utah State University created the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives which has been the “go to” resource of free online manips for years.

Wolfram Alpha’s ComputerBasedMath.org is a case for moving math education toward critical thinking in computer programming which would allow high school students to write Virtual Manipulatives software for the next generations of math students!

## Shana Donohue says:

December 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm (UTC -7)

There is a series of virtual manipulatives that accompanies the CMP2 middle school math curriculum used here in Boston. One in particular, the “red chip/black chip model” would be great IF computers were widely available. But they’re not. Buying enough checkers for each student to solve “-17 + 5 =” gets costly. To fix this problem, I invented a new math manipulative for adding and subtracting integers. It’s called the ZeroSum Ruler and works with absolute value.

I’d love your feedback. It seems as though the whole country, except Boston, is headed towards Singapore Math and more down-to-Earth methods of teaching math.

http://zerosumruler.wordpress.com/

## Michael jackson beat it says:

December 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm (UTC -7)

Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. Thumbs up!

## Albert says:

May 17, 2012 at 8:34 am (UTC -7)

Where do I buy concrete manipulatives in Singapore? Do they sell in Popular Bookstores?