The students in my classroom are not learning mathematics and science, they are doing them. Each lesson has a hands-on component that allows the students to interact in a way that provides a concrete understanding.
Our school is a first ring suburb of a large metropolitan area.
More than half of our students live in poverty and receive free or reduced-price meals. We have the highest number of refugee students in our school district and over 40 languages are spoken in the district. The students are wonderful learners, who require more than the old paper/pencil model of instruction. They want to be engaged through hands-on lessons. They need lessons that require them to be collaborative while working in teams. Each day they ask me when we are going to do the part of the lesson where we "construct our learning." The level of STEM understanding increases dramatically when they do the work with manipulatives, rather than just solve on paper. Their engagement in the lesson increases exponentially.
Many of my students have difficulty learning their math facts. Often they do not see the relationship between the two factors and the total product. By using hands-on manipulatives, my students can 'construct' their knowledge by creating arrays made of Lego blocks. They will then be able to visualize that a problem such as 9 x 6 has a total of 54 dots on their Lego arrays.
This method will especially help my struggling learners.
Most children love working with Lego blocks. This will allow them to learn their facts while having fun. Most importantly, they will truly understand the correlation between factors and overall products.
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