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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
Examples of Teach and Test versions, including information about how to scaffold the use of these manipulatives in the classroom.
Review the TEA policy document for allowable use of math manipulatives during test administration.
Some accommodations appropriate for instructional use may not be allowable on a statewide assessment. Select the state assessment to view the implementation policies.
Type: Designated Support
Assessments: STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics and Algebra I
Student Eligibility Criteria:
Only Allowable Manipulatives:
Type: Designated Support
Assessments: STAAR Spanish grades 3–5 mathematics
Student Eligibility Criteria: Same as STAAR
Use calculator, manipulatives, or math tools to arrive at response. Examples include: