Top 5 manipulatives for learning fractions

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Last Updated on September 8, 2020 by Editorial Team

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Fractions are an important mathematical concept, though a bit difficult to learn. While going from whole numbers to fractions, children may feel perplexed about the changing ways of operation. Fraction manipulatives can help the teachers in building the concept and to prepare the child for doing operations involving fractions correctly and fast as well. 

Fraction manipulatives, by the way of offering a good premise for arranging, sorting, and dividing, allow children to internalize the concepts. There are certain time-pressed activities possible to do with these manipulatives, that can enable students to fasten up the calculation part. Using manipulatives as assistive tools, the teachers can let children pass through the three stages of learning, achieving a good understanding of the concept eventually.

Listed here are the commonly used fraction manipulatives for beginners and the students studying in various levels of education. Each one is different in approach of application and offers a variety of operations to learn and master.

1. Fraction Tiles And Fraction Circles

Fraction tiles and circles made using magnetic material do not fit until these are used in the right combinations. Thus, this manipulative pushes the mind to visualize the fractions. From 1/12, 1/11 onwards going up to the whole number 1, this is one of the fraction manipulatives that help build a solid ground for the concept building and its application.

2. Learning Resources Magnetic 3D Fraction Shapes

Teaching fractions to small kids at a very early learning stage can be a challenging task, but these 3D fraction cubes ease the process. These fraction cubes are designed to help the students grasp the concepts of 1/4, 1/3, ½, and so on. Thus, by adding and removing the portions of these cubes, children can learn the operations like addition and subtraction of fractions.

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This manipulative can be used at home as well as in class for teaching the children the concept of fractions by the way of gamification and collaborative thinking.

3. Fraction Dominoes Challenge Cards

This manipulative for learning fractions offers a fun-filled way of learning amidst a few rounds of laughter. The understanding of fractions can be enhanced with the help of graphic representations.

Colorful illustrations and the use of matching pictures make the learning time quite interesting. Children will not mind practicing these again and again. Thus, it helps in boosting the concept building.

4. Fraction Fun Pizza

Take a slice or a two of pizza out and learn what it teaches you about the fraction! This fraction manipulative is very useful for learning half, one-fourths, and one-sixth values and allow the students to soak up the concept in a fun way. Apart from learning through matching and identifying, this manipulative can help build calculation skills like addition and subtraction of fractions. 

The pizza-shaped materials are segmented to provide an easy understanding of fractions. This award-winning manipulative offers learning through multi-sensory methods. It comes with multiple challenge levels allowing the teachers to keep pushing the learning curve of the students.

5. Fraction Tower Linking Cubes

Fraction Tower Linking Cubes are an engaging way of learning fraction equivalents. The tower cubes are color-coded to represent the values of fractions. Students learn to add fractions to make whole numbers by interlocking the cubes. Thus, students grasp the concept of the fraction by the way of doing an activity. It offers good practice as children can play with it as a regular activity, which strengthens the concept of the fractions equivalents in their minds.

How to use fraction manipulatives as a teaching tool

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Teachers face the challenge that manipulatives don’t get passed off merely as games by the children. Thus, they have to follow certain strategies to ensure that children perceive them as a material used for teaching. This is possible with the use of certain strategies such as:

  • Discussions: With the help of little talks, the teachers can explain the children the real motive of using manipulatives. An announcement at the start of the session can help set the mood.
  • Preparing charts: Teachers make use of charts to tabulate the name of manipulatives and the corresponding concept to ensure that children understand the idea behind their use.
  • Involving parents: Some teachers have a session with parents, too, where they explain the manipulatives and the way these are going to be assistive in the child’s learning process. The parents can use this knowledge to give practice at home.

Manipulatives promote teamwork, collaborative thinking, decision making and offer a way to express knowledge. Teachers give directions to build strategies that, in a way, teach the method involved in the mathematical calculations. The sense of achievement arriving from the completion of any figure or pattern compels children to practice more and encourages them to delve deeper into the concept-building process.

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