Virtual Manipulatives to Support Your Math Instruction
Help students grasp abstract concepts and make connections between visual and symbolic representations.
For students to succeed in math, they must be able to move from concrete understandings of concepts to much more abstract concepts. This shift is challenging for many students, particularly those with disabilities or English Language Learners (ELLs).
When working with your students around difficult concepts in math, you likely use a number of physical manipulatives - tools to help students concretely represent abstract concepts. From Base-10 Blocks to tangrams, manipulatives are an excellent way to support students in learning math.
Expand your teacher toolkit with virtual manipulatives, and give your students many more opportunities to interact with content, explore connections between visual and symbolic representations, and express what they know.
What are the benefits?
Virtual manipulatives have many of the same benefits as the physical manipulatives you may already be using in your classroom. An added benefit is their flexibility, as they can be altered in many ways. This flexibility allows students to create more examples using virtual objects, giving them the freedom to explore and investigate how changes affect the math problem at hand. Many available virtual manipulatives also give students hints and feedback, which make them valuable for independent practice.
Using these tools can:
- Help students understand abstract math concepts.
- Lead to richer and more complex understandings of concepts.
- Help clarify student misconceptions and build connections between concepts and representations.
- Support you in addressing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice — particularly the standards related to making sense of problems and reasoning abstractly.