# Manipulatives In Maths

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recommends manipulative

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Their selection and effective use needs careful consideration and meticulous planning (Drews, 2007). Judgment regarding the appropriateness of a resource should be based on the extent of how the mental images produced by children are likely to be helpful/unhelpful in scaffolding their thinking (Bottle, 2005). Drews (2007) also noted that whilst structured manipulatives, such as, Dienes and Cuisenaire are especially helpful for children struggling with decomposition and number property and relationships, unstructured manipulatives such as Multilink, counting materials or collections of shapes are more versatile and encourage children’s own application. The ability to use manipulatives in diverse ways encourages greater opportunities for investigational and collaborative work, and subsequently leads to more purposeful mathematical dialogue and the development of logic and reason (Hansen,

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A meta-analysis of 55 such studies by Carbonneau et al in 2013 looked at only studies that compared instruction with manipulatives to a control condition where mathematics was only taught using abstract symbols. Overall results indicated that using manipulatives produces a small to medium sized effect on student learning when compared to using only abstract symbols. These results also revealed that the effect is dependent on the ways in which they are used. Interestingly, when looking at specific areas of mathematics it was discovered that instruction using manipulatives only produced small effects when higher-level outcomes, such as problem solving were