Using Math Manipulatives in the Classroom

There are many kinds of manipulatives that are commercially available in addition to manipulatives which can be made from common objects that are purchased inexpensively or found in one’s environment.  Experiment and find manipulatives that work well for your students and are best suited for the mathematical concept.

Suggestions on Teaching with Math Manipulatives

Examples of Math Manipulatives:
Centimeter Cubes Base 10 Blocks Measuring Tapes
Dominoes Colour Tiles Anglegs
Dice (including Multi-sided Dice) Pattern Blocks Attribute Blocks
Polydrons Tangrams Mini Whiteboards and Markers
Number Spinners Connecting/Unifix Cubes Reflectors
Two-colour counters Fraction Strips & Towers Balances
Algebra Tiles Fraction Circles Playing Cards
Relational/Cuisenaire Rods Rekenreks Hundred Charts
Frames Calculators Number Lines
Geoboards Geometric Solids Counters, such as beans
Craft Sticks Straws Paper Plates

Concepts to Teach with Counters
Counting Number Recognition Number Correspondence
Ordinal Numbers More, less, and equivalence The concept of ten (use counters with ten frames)
Addition and subtraction Multiplication and division


Concepts to Teach with Base Ten Blocks
Place Value Regrouping Addition
Subtraction Multiplication Division
Division with Remainders Zero as a place-holder Fractions
Decimals Expanded Notation
Concepts to Teach with Pattern Blocks
Patterns Shapes Geometric Designs
Spatial Relations Types of Angles Area, parallel and perpendicular lines
Other Geometry Concepts
Concepts to Teach with a Bucket Balance
Explore Volume Compare solids and liquids Measure Mass
Measuring Estimating Cause and Effect
Explore volume vs. mass
Concepts to Teach with Fraction Tiles and Circles
The meaning of numerators and denominators How Fractions Work Fraction Addition and Subtraction
Equivalent Fractions Multiplications of Fractions Division of Fractions
Concepts to Teach with a Ten Frames
Counting Subitization Number correspondence
More, less and equivalence Addition and subtraction Components of ten
Regrouping Decomposition of large numbers Problem solving
Concepts to Teach with Linking Cubes
Patterns Number Correspondence Counting
Skip Counting Comparisons Measurement
Regrouping Sorting Addition and Subtraction
Multiplication and Division Squared and cubed numbers Graphing
Concepts to Teach with a Geoboard
Plane Shapes (Squares, rectangles, triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, etc.) Symmetry Rotation
Translation Reflection Coordinate Planes
Graphing Types of Angles Problem Solving
Spatial Relations
Concepts to Teach with a Graphing Calculators
Factoring Factors and Zeros Patterns, trends
Slope Intercepts Intersections
Max/Min. Values Polynomial functions (leading term, leading coefficient, odd/even power, start and end quadrants) Domain and Range
Limits Trigonometric functions Interpreting, predicting real world relationships and phenomena

1Most of the concepts to teach are compiled from: Saunders, A., n.d. List of Math Manipulatives Every Home Should Have | Orison Orchards. [online] Orison Orchards. Available at:[Accessed 20 October 2021].

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