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Maths Manipulatives

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Wales1986, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Wales1986

    Wales1986 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I am trying to bring in a mastery approach to maths this year. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to how they manage and organise the manipulatives in the lesson. I intend for the children to have access to Base 10 blocks, whiteboards, place value counters etc. each lesson but I don't want to waste valuable time giving these out etc. Any ideas?

    Also, if I'm unable to purchase enough Base 10 blocks does anyone have any ideas for low cost alternatives?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Which age group?
  3. Wales1986

    Wales1986 New commenter

    Apologies...this is for year 3 and 4.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Do you work at individual tables or table blocks? So you could just have the manipulatives in a large plastic bag for general use on the tables. Not every child would always need to use them every time. get one table monitor to hand them out put them away at the beginning/end of the lessons.

    Cheap alternatives might be some laminated pictures of the blocks, which would help the cost and be easier to store.
    Wales1986 likes this.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    If this approach is to last longer than a year then look upon any purchases as an investment as you may use the same materials with each new class. Here is a good option for 524 pieces:


    The same supplier does a more economic set of 131 pieces.

    This new approach of yours, are you working to a branded programme?

    I like this idea and have done something similar for chess puzzles but found that they lacked durability from year to year as I could not laminate them for fear of the sharp corners and edges following their cutting into individual pieces. Even photographic paper proved dangerous, and expensive to replace.
    Wales1986 likes this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I have the top of a drawer unit with boxes of everything (in my opinion) needed and children know where everything else is kept and that they have the freedom to get anything they think useful.

    So, for most of the autumn term, out on the top will be place value blocks (we have zillions, your school might well have heaps too. Ask in KS1) place value cards and 100 bead strings. I'm hoping to nab some number rods from somewhere as well, can't remember if we found some in the grand clear out or not.

    Whiteboards are always out and available in a different part of the room.

    I'll also have masking tape for marking out calculations on desks (parallel lines for answers in column calculations, plus signs and so on). I find this helps those who think they are 'too clever to need blocks' actually use them and develop their understanding, rather than sit and struggle.

    I definitely would give things out each lesson, not every child wants everything and it will take up valuable working space on desks, get knocked on the floor and generally drive everyone batty. So long as children know where they are and that they can get up and fetch what they want at any time, then all works well.

    I'm such a sad freak, that typing all this has got me all enthusiastic and excited about maths next term all over again! It's my first term with mastery approach, using White Rose as well. Going to be a good one.
    Wales1986 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. Wales1986

    Wales1986 New commenter

    Thankyou for the responses. I'm going in tomorrow to set up and will have a think about what's going to work best. I guess whichever way I go it's more about training the children and showing them how helpful the manipulatives can be.
    Vince_Ulam and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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