The video above is an example of how math can be perceived in two totally different ways. The man is having a hard time explaining how he came up with the answer because ma and pa already think they know how to divide the number even though their answer is totally incorrect. This is an example where math manipulatives would have been very helpful. Ma and pa would have had a hard time arguing if they saw 25 things being separated into 5 groups. Now educators have the convenience of virtual manipulatives for mathematics!

Virtual manipulatives are defined as computer-based simulations of physical manipulatives that are accessed via the internet or computer software (Bouck, E., Flanagan, S. 2010). Virtual manipulatives are modeled after manipulatives such as blocks, tangrams, coins, spinners, rulers, geoboards, and algebra tiles. They can support learning mathematics for all students including students with learning disabilities and ELL students.

### Example of a division problem from Kidspiration 3 (free 30 day trial available)

**Virtual Manipulatives for Mathematics websites**

### References

Bouck, E., Flanagan, S. (2010) Virtual Manipulatives *Intervention in School and Clinic* Retrieved from ERIC database.

http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=151.

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/virtual_manipulatives_for_mathematics

http://www.grsc.k12.ar.us/…/Manipulatives/Virtual%20Manipulaitves.pdf

http://www.nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/siteinfo.html

mdemeo

Mar 29, 2012@ 18:04:32I found your blog to be very interesting and informative. I know that manipulatives are very important when teaching math, but I haven’t given much thought to virtual manipulatives. After reading your blog, I became interested in it and looked through some of the research on manipulatives. Now my question is: why aren’t more teachers using these? Most students love using the computer, and research backs the use of virtual manipulatives. There is plenty of research that has found that children who use manipulatives to learn math, learn much better than children who do not use them. According to Burns and Hamm (2011), virtual manipulatives work just as well as concrete manipulatives for students learning math concepts. If this is the case, virtual manipulatives seem to be the best way to go. They would get students more interested in learning math because they get to do it on a computer! I’m glad you opened my eyes to this method for my own teaching. Thanks for the great post!

Reference:

Burns, B. A., & Hamm, E. M. (2011). A comparison of concrete and virtual manipulative use in third- and fourth-grade mathematics. School Science & Mathematics, 111(6), 256-261.