My students need hands on math manipulatives, games. and puzzles in order to fully understand basic math concepts.
Can you imagine having to do your job on a daily basis without understanding why you are doing it? My students need hands on math manipulatives to understand why they do math concepts before they understand the algorithm and apply it to their daily life.
I teach 29 amazing third grade students in a Title I school in Utah.
Approximately 85 percent of the students in my school are on free or reduced lunch status. This is true in my classroom as well. My students come from families of poverty and the majority of them are English Language Learners. For some of them, my classroom is the only stable environment they have. Despite any of the challenges they face, they are some of the most motivated, hard working, and fun group of students that I have had the privilege to teach.
In the past, math education was about teaching an algorithm and the steps to solving the problem. For example, students in the past were expected to memorize that 5x7=35 without understanding what that meant. This type of math teaching needs to change. Students need to understand that multiplication is repeated addition and it is groups of numbers. Research has shown that students need to fully understand why they do those steps in a math problem. They cannot master essential concepts in mathematics without understanding what they are doing. The way to ensure that students understand why math works before learning the steps in the problem is to have students use hands on manipulatives. I strive to include the use of maniplatives in every lesson that I teach. I need more manipulatives to do this! By using manipulatives daily, students will be able to master basic number concepts in place value, fractions, time and multiplication.
If my students have a solid foundation on the math skills that they learn this year, not only will they be able to be successful in any math class they encounter, they will love learning about math.
It is imperative that they understand why they are doing steps in a math problem before they can master the concepts and use it in their daily life. This project will help make these students proficient and advanced in mathematics.
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