My students need new, versatile math manipulatives to engage in models-based learning. A balance scale for students to take authentic data and chart it, geoboards to model fractions, and OmniFix cubes to model volume!
Each year, I welcome an amazing cohort of fifth grade students ready to become mathematicians. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, as our rural community is a farming town just south of a navy base. Students flow in and out of our school frequently as families receive new orders. We also have families of a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Creating a community of equity is extremely important for our students, and it is something I tackle each year.
We open our year with a focus on our mindset, scrubbing clean the idea that only "special brains" can do math; all brains are capable of mathematics if they just have the right mindset.
I teach in a departmentalized fifth grade, which means that I teach 3 sections of mathematics. I work very closely with our special education teachers on an inclusive model, creating a curriculum that embraces individualized learning that fits the fifth grade standards.
Too often, mathematics is seen primarily in the abstract. Numbers and operations are these strange, unreal things that lack hands-on, applicable examples. That's why modeling mathematics is so important!
Manipulatives in mathematics allow students to build physical models to understand big mathematical ideas.
Common manipulatives seen in a mathematics classroom include colored tiles, base-ten blocks, and geometric pattern blocks. But that is only the tip of the mathematical models iceberg.
By donating to this project, you will be giving my students a whole new variety of tools to use to deepen their understanding of mathematics:
With connector cubes (OmniFix Cubes), students will be able create physical models for multiplication arrays and volume models; geoboards are amazing ways to model fractions, stretching rubber-bands along the pegs to create halves, quarters, eighths and more.
A balancing scales gives students the opportunities to practice precision and accuracy while gathering data authentic data. They will measure and chart the ever-changing weights of a growing plant, compare the weights of bagged objects to make quantity estimations, and so much more!
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