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Elementary Math Success Using Base Ten Blocks

Oct 29, 2007
I've been a teacher for over a decade. When I became a teacher I was eager to teach kids differently than I had been taught. So much of how I was taught as a child was motivated by results, scores and performance. If I did well on the standardized test that proved that I was learning. Filling in the right bubble proved that I understood the question and the answer. Sadly, this was far from the truth, because I missed out on understanding what happened in between the question and the answer. I couldn't tell my teacher why choice "D" was right. I needed teachers who could show me why my answer was correct. I needed teachers who knew about math manipulatives.

Elementary School math can be a challenge for students. This is especially true when kids are taught how to get the right answers to problems, but aren't taught why their answers are correct. That's why math manipulatives are a fantastic tool for teaching the basic mathematical operations in a way that makes sense to kids. Place value, number sense, addition, subtraction, multiplication and long division are just a few examples of mathematical concepts that can be better taught, and understood, using a hands-on approach.

Hands-on math tools are a "must have" for anyone who's trying to teach elementary school math. Without an understanding of the mathematical processes involved in problem solving the correct answers are meaningless. A teacher should try their best to help kids understand their answers. Math should make sense.

Some parents and educators don't know where to begin when it comes to teaching kids what to do with a math manipulative. Luckily, this is a hurdle that is easy to get over in today's information age. Activity books, guides, lesson plans and practical application for hands-on math are readily available. They help guide any teacher though many activities that can accompany great hands-on resources. All the work is already done for you. All you need to do is round up the materials, copy the lesson plans and worksheets and follow the instructions. You'll be amazed at how quickly kids begin to understand how to get the right answers. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to teach math better than you were likely taught.

The internet is another valuable resource when it comes to figuring out how to teach with math manipulatives. A simple internet search will uncover lesson plans and valuable suggestions that incorporate hands-on tools for teaching mathematics. You'll also discover a wide selection of products including Base Ten Blocks, math games, fraction circles, Cuisennaire Rods and much more. A simple search will open up all the possiblities you can explore when using these, and other, hands-on math resources.

When I was a child I was lucky if my text book included an illustration for the mathematical process being taught. Now, the materials available for understanding the mathematical processes are excellent and varied. We can teach so much more than our math teachers taught us when we use math manipulatives.

If you're trying to uncover the best way to teach elementary school math you want to invest in some good math manipulatives. This investment should include the best possible resources. My favorite hands-on resource for teaching elementary math is a set of Base Ten Blocks. So many math concepts can be taught efficiently and easily with the investment in this inexpensive, easy to use set of materials. You'll use them all year long and for many years to come. They'll make you a better teacher. They'll make learning easier and more meaningful for your students.

When learners have the chance to understand basic mathematic priciples they will experience greater success when it comes to computation and math reasoning. You'll get real results that reflect true understanding. Check out the ways you can teach math better using hands-on materials. Explore the possibilities with an eager mind that's ready to learn. It's an investment you won't regret.
About the Author
Alisa E. Clark, an educator for over 10 years with a Master's Degree in Reading Education, reviews and consults with companies and schools districts about the latest tools and programs to enhance student learning. Her web site is at http://www.basetenblocks.com.
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