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Topic One: The first virtual manipulative I explored was â€œAttribute Trains.â€ This manipulative is for Pre-K to 2nd Grade students and is in the Geometry category. The main reason this manipulative stood out to me was for its Train aspect. I thought using a train was a great way to introduce and teach students about shapes and their defining attributes. Most students in the lower grades are still very interested in trains, cars, trucks, and boats. Using one of these already interesting items to teach a new concept keeps the students engaged, interested, and having fun while learning. I also liked that the manipulative was teaching more than just shapes. It includes colors, counting, patterns, and problem solving. A great way to incorporate this manipulative into the classroom would be through group work. After the students independently use the manipulative on the computer, they could then do an activity as a group at their desks. The students would work together to create an attribute train using tangram shapes and then show the other groups what their train looks like.
Topic Two: The second virtual manipulative I explored was â€œFifteen Puzzle.â€ This caught my eye because I remember playing it in school with actual boards that my teacher had. It is a fun way to teach children how to count to fifteen, number recognition, number order, as well as problem solving strategies. The great thing about this virtual manipulative is that you can track each studentâ€™s ability to complete the puzzle and then incorporate the puzzle into your physical classroom. The teacher can get actual boards and place the students in pairs: one student who does very well with the puzzle and one who struggles. They can help each other solve the puzzle and gain social skills and extra work time while doing so.
Technology is an important part of mathematics in todayâ€™s classroom. Student now have easier access to technology and are becoming more interested in using it to learn new concepts. It is mentioned in the Enhancing Mathematical Learning in a Technology-Rich Environment article, that by using technology to incorporate many representations of the mathematics concept, students are more likely to advance their mathematical thinking process. Using the Virtual Manipulatives website would be an example of incorporating technology in mathematics. There are many mathematics concepts on the website that would interest students of all ages.