Math Games & Manipulatives

Denise Dutcher


Math manipulatives (hands-on learning tools) make math more engaging and fun. For students who are developing concepts, manipulatives help to create a mental model of a sometimes difficult concept. Students of all ages can benefit from a tactile experience. For example, the concept of "nets" for 3-dimensional objects can be difficult to comprehend. By providing students with the 3D shape and a net to fold and unfold, students are able to able to understand how 2D faces are put together into 3D figures.

Last year I was hired as a Personalized and Competency-Based Math Mentor. One of my roles is as a Flex teacher. For my Flex class, I teach a 5th and 6th-grade class called Math Games. The kids are taught how to play various games such as Math Spoons, Math Target, Prime Climb, and more. They choose a game to play that will enhance their math abilities. During the game, kids share strategies with other students in a fun and exciting atmosphere. Most kids don't even realize how much math they are doing! Adding a few games to my collection (Proof and Math Dominoes) will make Math Flex even more engaging and fun for the kids.