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Math Study Aids for Early Grades

Updated on October 20, 2014

A Fractions Manipulative Set

Give a child a hands on option to learning math, and it might just open the mind to a new level of understanding.
Give a child a hands on option to learning math, and it might just open the mind to a new level of understanding. | Source

Getting Math Across

Whether a student is being homeschooled or attends regular classes, making math understandable requires addressing the method that particular student learns. Many people are visual learners. Simply seeing numbers and understanding what is there may be difficult for them. Some are hands-on, and must actually handle something to fully grasp a concept. So, even if a teacher uses manipulatives, how do you reinforce the understanding at home? And with homeschoolers, how is the concept to be presented?

At one time it was difficult to find educational aids. One had to go into a special educational aid store and hope the company that supplied the store with products included what was needed. Now, things have gotten easier. But, to find something it is first necessary to know what it is.

Intro Image: This is an Amazo image.

Number Sense

Some math manipulatives are designed to go really basic, such as counting. Perhaps your student is a little older, like at a second grade level. Should you now discard the basic counting items? No! Use a little imagination and turn them into basic arithmetic manipulatives.

Addition: Take those counting items and count out those representing each of two numbers. Now merge them, and count everything you have merged. They have just been used for adding.

Subtracting: Now take the items used to count and count out a number. From that group, count out the number needed to perform subtraction. Again, the counting manipulatives have been used for arithmetic, this time for subtracting.

Multiplication: Now count out a number with the manipulatives, and repeat as many times as indicated by the other number in a multiplication process. Put the items together and count.

Division: Now look at the divisor in a division problem. Take the number of items counted for the dividend, and separate into equal piles so the number of piles represents the divisor. The quotient is the number of items in any one pile, and the remainder are the items that were too few to add to the piles.

Math Manipulatives - Counting and Arithmetic


There are a number of different manipulatives for fractions Some pave larger squares separated into pieces, others have columns made of pieces. In performing arithmetic on these, it is much like what was done for whole numbers, except some pieces just do not fit. Add 2/3 +1/4, and there is no way to make the whole number part, unless you trade for smaller pieces. Here, the least common denominator is 12, so trade for twelfths, and continue. This also makes the student aware of the importance of finding least common denominators.

Have Fun

Occasionally, take a break from the work and play a math game. Having fun will keep the student engaged, and avoid having learning math become an unpleasant task.

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    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 5 years ago

      I used a lot of manipulatives when homeschooling my children; they are very helpful. Well done lens.

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      josephpowell519 6 years ago

      This is a great page, very informative and i'd definitely recommend it. I've also given this page a like

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I use math everyday in my occupation, math is important.

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      Tanami 6 years ago

      Have you personally used any of these great tools? If so can you share what you liked about them

    • Debbie-Dunn profile image

      Debbie-Dunn 6 years ago

      Wow! You did a lot of hard work on this lens. Thanks!