Favorite "real life" or "school-y" math manipulatives? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've thought of buttons and legos as counters, patterning units, and sorting activities, but for the life of me, I cannot think of what else I already have in my house that I can use for early math concepts. So I'm thumbing through a stack of educational supply catalogs, wondering what I should buy. I'm thinking pattern blocks, tangrams, Unifix cubes or the other linking cubes that connect on all sides (anyone have a preference?), a few math-y games, an abacus. What else should I get? Are there any favorites that got a lot of use in your house?

Thanks!

Kelly

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#2 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 04:50 AM
 
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pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters?

baking supplies like flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder and measuring cups and spoons?

a ruler and a yard stick?

I don't think you need anything beyond those things at all. Unless you want to buy some cool 3D geometric shapes to play with. They look like so much fun!!!
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#3 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 05:01 AM
 
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From around the house we use a kitchen scale, measuring cups, floor tiles, string, and rulers, plus lots of board games.

We keep it simple on the bought manipulatives. Right now in our cupboard (I have a 5th grader, btw) are these items:

-MUS blocks and fraction pieces
-Multiplication/place value mat to go with MUS blocks.
-Allowance board game
-Cathedral game (the board goes well with one of the Sir Cumference books, too, to make a perfect castle floor)
-Logix game
-Pick up sticks
-Thinkin' Logs and Brownie counter from The Toymaker
-Two balance scales - one with flat trays and one with "magic" counting weights
-Wrap-ups
-Fill-able geometric figures
-Tangrams and cards
-Wooden geometric shapes
-Fraction pizza game
-The usuals: compass, ruler, caliper ruler, protractor.

It looks like a longer list than it actually is. This all fits in one cubby, and then our math books go on a side bookcase.
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#4 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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we like the game Moneybags -

helps teach coin value in a fun way

you have to spin the spinner and come up with allowance not using certain coins - ex. make 30 cents not using quarters.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#5 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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We really like cuisenaire rods.... the kids build all kinds of cool stuff with those. And I've heard the pattern blocks are fun too.

Sara Mama to DS (6) and DS (4)
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#6 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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we have:
~ cuisenaire rods
~ pattern blocks
~ fraction circles (my kids love these!) and the rings that help learn fractions, time etc.
~ various dice
~ Dime blocks
~ tanagrams
~ pentominoes (flat and 3D)
~ various measuring devices rulers, calipers, measuring tapes, scales, spring scales, thermometer etc
~ wooden 3d shapes (cone, cube cylinder etc) and hollow plastic 3d shapes for playing with volume
~ poker chips
~ base ten blocks (lots of singles, 10s and 100s and 1 thousand block)
~ plastic links -fun for patterning and measuring

hth
Karen

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#7 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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OK this may not work well for some families, but we *rarely* use things like M&M's, cheese crackers, or other edibles for counting, addition, and subtraction. The kids LOVE it when they see me put a big bag of M&M's in the shopping cart because they know that we'll be doing this one day for math (and then following it with baking cookies to use it up) Those days, the manipulatives are considered snack time for us.

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Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12

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#8 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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Goldfish crackers are small enough to be cute and practical without being a huge snack - and they're even available in a mini size now.

Raisins are a good one too.

And money - coins and bills - are fantastic.

- Lillian
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#9 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I second the coins idea. My oldest isn't quite old enough to get the actual value of the coins, but she sorts them into appropriate piles, counts them, etc.

We also use beans as counters. :-)
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#10 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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legos

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#11 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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popsicle sticks

the little plastic bears

dominoes

dice

poker chips

Amy & DH, homeschooling Mama to
DD 9 love.gif DS 7 yrs   
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#12 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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Playing cards!

There are so many ways to use them. We play a lot of "War" with my 4-year-old, and there are more advanced versions like "Addition War" where you play two cards at once and whoever has the higher sum wins. Crazy eights is a good game for number matching and logic. We also play Cuisenaire rod bingo to learn the values associated with Cuisenaire rods - lay out an array of cards from A-10 and then draw rods from a bag until someone gets bingo.

An older child could learn quite a bit about probability by playing poker.

Alexandra 4.11.05 and Colin 2.9.09. Click on my name to visit my homeschooling blog.
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#13 of 15 Old 09-15-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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My kids reach for the glass gems the most out of all our counters.
Pattern blocks and tangrams get the most use after the gems.
Plastic links...for counting, pattern/sequence, and measuring everything in the house.
View-thru geometric solids, ours open and can be filled with various things for experimenting with volume etc.
geoboards and rubber bands.
Math wrap-ups
small platform scale and weights
balance scales
dice games
We made our own fraction circle/pizzas out of construction paper.
snap cubes
beans
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#14 of 15 Old 09-16-2009, 03:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Holy cow, you guys rock! Thanks so much for all these suggestions! I'm totally taking notes here and starting to look forward to more math. (spoken from a total math-phobe, as if you couldn't tell).

Kelly
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#15 of 15 Old 09-16-2009, 05:14 AM
 
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Lots of great suggestions.
This isn't specifically what you asked for..... Although we do own manipulatives, I also like to think of real life activities that naturally incorporate math skills.
Here are some ideas;

*Create a monthly calendar- (year, months, days of the week, no. of days in each month, counting days to an event/holiday, keep track of weather and temp.)
http://www.dltk-cards.com/calendar/

* Discuss time (routines, TV shows, what time Dad comes home, we'll be leaving in x amount of time)
http://home.howstuffworks.com/paper-clocks.htm

*Track the kids' growth by keeping a visible growth chart and having a scale.
(use butcher paper, masking tape, cash register tape)

*Piggy banks- include the kids in the planning of their and your purchases (find sales, cut coupons, compare prices, count money)

*Cooking (measuring, temperature to set on oven, using a timer/the clock, dividing in fractions, shapes, .....)

* Playing board games or sports (keeping score- numbers, tally marks)

More schooly type----
*Keep a simple timeline (or make a scrap book that includes dates)
http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/...atimeline1.htm

* Make a number line and tape to the floor- let them write one number in daily, see how far they can jump or tape it up on the wall.

*Make "hundreds charts" (use counters (beans, paper clips, etc.) to count by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s
http://math.about.com/od/countin1/ss/100s-chart_2.htm

HTH
Liz
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