The Practical Math Classroom is one in which students use a wide variety of manipulatives to model and visualize many concepts.
The children use Numicon Shapes, which were designed to exploit three (3) key strengths of young children, to help them understand number. These three strengths are: their abilities to learn by doing learn by seeing and to exploit their strong sense of pattern. Mathematically, the design of the Numicon Shapes helps children to see numbers by manipulating and making connections. It is so, that children understand numbers are not just randomly occurring things, but they form a highly organized system- which is full of many kinds of patterns.
The children also use Base Ten Blocks. They work individually and in groups in order to understand various concepts such as place value, fractions and decimals. The children use The Base Ten Blocks to introduce area, perimeter and volume as well.
It is encouraged that children work in groups. This promotes social and communication skills and allows all levels of abilities to shine. Over the years, research has shown that the use of manipulatives benefits the students’ understanding of concepts. As Benjamin Franklin said, ”Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Most children learn by doing and seeing, which is why manipulatives are perfect tools for teaching and reinforcing concepts.