Top 5 manipulatives for learning fractions

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 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 build the concept and 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 stages of learning, achieving a good understanding of the concept eventually.

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

1. Fraction Tiles And Fraction Circles

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 manipulation 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 . Hand2Mind Rainbow Fraction Measuring Cups

Hand2Mind Rainbow Fraction Measuring Cups

The Rainbow fraction measuring cups come in a system where each color represents a fraction, starting with pink representing a half, orange a third, and so forth. It brings an exciting activity book along to put these to good use, and you can also dabble in a little bit of light baking with your child. If this does not keep them entertained while learning fractions, what will?

3. Carson Dellosa Fraction Flash Cards

Carson Dellosa Fraction Flash Cards

These fun hands-on resources are an excellent way to introduce your child to both whole numbers and fractions. This set of 54 flashcards provides an easy representation of fractions and also helps the child develop decision-making, critical thinking, turn-taking, and other skills.

It also contains cards to teach basic mathematical symbols and even a bonus game card, which can be used to create multiple-fraction games. These bright flashcards are an excellent manipulative to catch both your child’s eye and interest in the idea of fractions.

4. Fraction Fun Pizza

 Fraction Fun Pizza

Take a slice or two of pizza out and learn what it teaches you about fractions! This fraction manipulative is very useful for learning half, one-fourths, and one-sixth values and allows 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

Fraction Tower Linking Cubes is 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

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 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 to 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 names of manipulatives and the corresponding concepts 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 practice at home.

Manipulatives promote teamwork, collaborative thinking, and 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.

In conclusion,

Developing a strong sense of fractions is not just an academic pursuit, but is a basic life skill to glide through life smoothly. Manipulatives help the child realize this when they are able to visualize the practical applications of the theoretical fractions and feel them through tactile sensation.

These hand-picked manipulatives also help the child see fractions in a friendlier light so that the first mental battle of fear from fractions is won easily. The rest is just about collecting the spoils of the war which are a keen sense of mathematical abilities and a lifelong interest in its pursuit.

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