Monday, June 20, 2016

Unconventional Math Manipulatives and a FREEBIE

Keep it novel! Every teacher of young children knows that adding anything new to your lessons IMMEDIATELY grabs students' interest. Today I'm sharing just a few of the unconventional math manipulatives I use to keep things engaging. 

At the end, you'll find a related clip art freebie.

Cotton Balls 
Inexpensive, easy-to-find, squishy, and QUIET. They're the perfect manipulative. I use cotton balls when my students explore the concept of multiplying one-digit numbers by multiples of ten. Here, students were using cotton balls and cheap paper plates to demonstrate 3 x 30.

Pipe Cleaners, Beads, and Straws
My local dollar store always stocks packages of pipe cleaners and bags of beads. I use them often. Here students are showing 30 x 3 using beads and pipe cleaners.   

I also have the students use pipe cleaners, beads, and straws cut in half to create angle makers. Reinforcing geometric terms such as acute, obtuse, vertex, and ray is more fun and more memorable.  

Candy and Other Forms of Food
I rarely use food, but there are times when a small ration of candy corn seems like a good way to amp up a lesson. Here, students were using candy corn as greater than/less than symbols. I also gave students buttons with equal signs written on them. I got this idea from a post by Amy Lemons. You can grab the freebie sheet shown here by visiting this blog post (see #2 to find it easily). 

Students in my class also used round cereal and uncooked spaghetti to create points, rays, line segments, and lines. 

Seasonal Items
Foam shamrock shapes become an instant hands-on item when you write =, >, and < on them.

Play Dough! Yes, Play Dough!
My students LOVE play dough math task cards. These were created for a family math center.

I'm sharing the clip art I used to create my task cards. It's the first clip art I've ever shared, so please feel free to leave me comments with feedback, problems, or suggestions!

Click here or on the image below to grab the clip art freebie.

 Thanks for visiting!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas - I'm pinning this for next year! thanks for sharing!