Math learning methods previously
Math involves using steps and rules that are important to remember. Sometimes you may not even get the explanation for the rules and meanings for math. You just memorized the times’ table, for example, because the teacher said so. All these were just seen as the “old school” way of doing it. Now, there are different ways that have been devised to instruct kids in math. With the advent of new types of calculators, assistive technology and other innovative approaches, kids learning math with math aids has taken a new shape.
Math lessons for kids are now focused on understanding the concepts behind it with hands-on activities and real-life applications. Kids now don’t just get handed down lessons copied from the board or just given pages to complete assignments individually. Group problem solving is now encouraged and various math aids have been integrated into learning.
Views on using manipulatives for math lessons
Manipulatives are concrete objects (such as things you can touch and move around). These math aids help kids in patterning, equations, multiplications, counting and more. They include geometric shapes, cubes, fraction bars, plastic counting cubes or 3d plastic geometric math aids. In some cases, buttons, soda caps, beans, dice, craft sticks, straws, marbles can also serve as manipulatives. Abacus math aids are also essential for kids learning. Virtually, manipulatives include puzzles and games. This is meant to keep the students interest alive in math.
Some people have put forward questions about manipulatives in learning math. They ask if they are not being overused. Secondly, they muse whether it will prevent students from having abstract thinking skills, memorizing things, recalling things, or restrict their imagination. Will it also decrease their everyday problem solving and critical thinking? Others have wondered and are generally concerned how their kids will get their math skills solid.
The National Council of Math Teachers has advocated strongly that manipulative should be used in the classroom. This is because it allows the student to construct their own understanding of maths. Concepts too challenging for kids are believed to be made simple using manipulatives. Those in favor of manipulatives have listed their importance. They include top-notch technology standards when it comes to creating math aid lessons for kids.
They also are of the view that many resources are online and can make creating lessons for kids with it easily. Manipulatives are indispensable math aids. Kids learn group work through it. They get accustomed to this from childhood and by the time they are ahead in school these math aids help them. Some of the manipulatives for the older groups have included 3d objects, grid paper, and geometric shapes or children wooden math aids.
More on the use of manipulatives as math aids
In some cases, its seen as a potential block for kids from abstract thinking. Some kids learn from systematic thinking and thus the materials for manipulatives may not work for everyone. The question is also asked whether the use of manipulatives will enable kids to understand all math concepts. These math aids, they are afraid, may not help students to understand systematic math but rather just the activities and not the lesson.
For the virtual manipulatives, they have raised concerns if the students will not be overly reliant on these math aids to solve problems. In cases where they need to quickly solve a problem and the tools are not there, what do they do? All math concepts are not in concrete form. Some math is very abstract. This math aid has raised a great deal of concern. The underlying question has been how to merge manipulatives with abstract thinking and how do teachers transition between the two without confusing kids.
Therefore, some tutors have devised their own way of teaching by blending the two intelligently so that kids will not be too reliant on one method at the neglect of the other. This is because they will meet different circumstances of math problems to solve. A child that has been taught in both will be able to solve the problem effectively using the math aids available to them.