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Mathematics Manipulatives

Concrete objects or pictures of concrete objects for a student to move and touch in order to visualize abstract concepts.

 

Allowable on at least one state assessment Allowable on state assessment: This accommodation is allowable on at least one state assessment. See which tests allow this accommodation

Assistive Technology Assistive Technology (AT): This accommodation includes AT. Be sure AT needs are included as accommodations on the IEP and that the PEIMS code reflects this.

Examples Include:

  • Base-ten blocks help a student learn basic math concepts by enabling them to manipulate numbers visually, with each block representing a place value from ones through thousands.

  • Two-color counters are two-sided (typically red and yellow) plastic circles that a student can use to visualize concepts such as counting, sorting, patterning, estimation, and probability. 

  • Algebra tiles are a set of squares and rectangles that can represent variables and constants to make visualization and problem solving easier for a student.

    Video about using algebra tiles in the classroom. 

    play video

  • Geometric figures can be either three or two-dimensional forms of shapes. Providing these facilitates shape recognition for the student and allows them to discriminate geometric shapes from one another based on the number of sides and corners.

  • Fraction pieces, such as bars and circles, are manipulatives that help the student to develop an understanding of fraction concepts and operations through hands-on and visual learning.

  • Other Examples:

    • Real or play money (both heads and tails)
    • Clocks

  • Virtual math manipulatives are digital “objects” that resemble physical objects. The student controls the manipulative with a mouse and can easily change the size, shape, and color to create more examples. An added benefit of virtual math manipulatives is that they provide students with opportunities to use technology in new ways for learning. There are a variety of virtual math manipulatives to choose from and many are available for free online. 

    Virtual math manipulatives are not allowable on state assessments. 

  • STAAR Stuff!

    Check out this helpful video about math manipulatives and using them on the math STAAR tests. 

    play video

How to Implement:

  • 1.

    Identify the appropriate manipulative according to the student’s need and the instructional task to be completed. 

    Identify the appropriate manipulative according to the student’s need and the instructional task to be completed. 

  • 2.

    Collaborate with an assistive technology specialist if the student will be using virtual math manipulatives or other tech tools. 

    Collaborate with an assistive technology specialist if the student will be using virtual math manipulatives or other tech tools. 

  • 3.

    Teach the student how to use the manipulative through modeling and think alouds. Use clear expectations to show the student how to use it

    Teach the student how to use the manipulative through modeling and think alouds. Use clear expectations to show the student how to use it appropriately in a variety of situations and environments. 

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  • 4.

    Lead guided practice and provide authentic opportunities for independent practice with the manipulative. 

    Lead guided practice and provide authentic opportunities for independent practice with the manipulative. 

  • 5.

    Monitor and record the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the manipulative.

    Monitor and record the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the manipulative.

  • 6.

    Provide feedback to the student. Feedback should be specific and include positive praise for correct use and corrective feedback for inappropriate use. 

    Provide feedback to the student. Feedback should be specific and include positive praise for correct use and corrective feedback for inappropriate use. 

  • 7.

    Share progress and effectiveness with the student, the educational team, and the family.

    Share progress and effectiveness with the student, the educational team, and the family.

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Downloadable Resources

Examples of Teach and Test versions, including information about how to scaffold the use of these manipulatives in the classroom.

Directions on How to Access Files:

  1. Select the resource to open in Google Drive
  2. To edit this file, you'll need to make a copy of it to your Google Drive (File-> Make a Copy). You must be logged into your Google account to make a copy.
  3. You'll be prompted to rename the file and then the new editable version will automatically open up in a new tab.

Review the TEA policy document for allowable use of math manipulatives during test administration. 

State Assessment
Allowability

Some accommodations appropriate for instructional use may not be allowable on a statewide assessment. Select the state assessment to view the implementation policies.

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Type: Designated Support 

Assessments: Grades 3-8 Math, and Algebra I

Student Eligibility Criteria:

  • he or she routinely, independently, and effectively uses this accommodation during classroom instruction and classroom testing. 

Only Allowable Manipulatives:

  • Real or play money (both heads and tails)
  • Clocks with or without numbers shown on the clock face; the clock should NOT have gears.
  • Base-ten blocks
  • Various types of counters (e.g., two-sided chips, blocks, numerals with printed or raised dots)
  • Algebra tiles; the tiles should NOT contain words, labels, pictures, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables.
  • Fraction pieces (e.g., fraction bars, fraction circles); the fraction pieces should NOT contain labels (e.g., labels that show individual fractions, equivalencies, or cumulative sequence).
  • Geometric figures that are grade- or course-appropriate; the figures may be provided in either three-dimensional form or two-dimensional form, but NOT in both forms; the figures should NOT contain words, labels, colors used as labels, pictures, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables. Providing a pictorial model of a geometric figure in one form (e.g., net) and a supplement aid of the same figure in another form (e.g., three- dimensional solid) is NOT allowed.

same as STAAR

Type: Designated Support

Assessments: grades 3-5 Math

Student Eligibility Criteria: Same as STAAR