One the most common things I hear from teachers is about not knowing how to best utilize manipulatives. Many schools have a variety of manipulatives ready to be used, but they often go unused because teachers are unsure of how to use them to their fullest potential. Look no further. I’ve got something special for you! Thursday Tool School will feature various math manipulatives that are common in schools. This weekly post will provide ideas for ways to get the most out of the tools. I will feature a new manipulative each month, so be sure to stay tuned.
The ability to solve problems using multiple methods is an essential skill students need to be successful mathematicians. NCTM (2014) advocates that “teachers must regularly select and implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving” so that students have opportunities to engage in “high-level” thinking (p. 17). In fact, research shows that “student learning is greatest in classrooms where the tasks consistently encourage high-level student thinking and reasoning” (NCTM, 2014, p. 17). The weekly Solve It! problem is designed to help meet these goals and provide teachers with an engaging task that will provide opportunities for students to reason about math and engage in high-level thinking. Additionally, students will strengthen their communication skills and learn to evaluate the mathematical thinking of others.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.: Reston, VA.