Make your math activities more fun by using these creative math manipulatives in your upper elementary classroom.
Of all the trends in math education, the use of manipulatives is one of my favorites, as it makes math visual for my students.
We all know that some math concepts are very hard for students to wrap their minds around, and using physical manipulatives to help teach those concepts allows students to use both touch and sight to work their way through these more complex (and sometimes vague) topics.
Often, people think that using manipulatives is only for younger kids, and they don’t consider how manipulatives can be used outside of counting collections or building patterns, but having creative math manipulatives in your upper elementary classroom is probably even more important because at this age it is a greater challenge to keep students interested in tough concepts.
I have always enjoyed a good classroom supply shopping spree, and if you’ve followed along with the blog for long, you may have already been exposed to a few of my shopping adventures, including my classroom supply adventure at the Dollar Store and my game supply shopping spree on Amazon.
But on our list today, you are going to see only resources that can be used as creative math manipulatives in your classroom.
Creative Math Manipulatives in your Upper Elementary Classroom
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Manipulatives for practicing…Fractions
Manipulatives for practicing…Geometry
Get some hands-on experience building different 3D shapes with this shape-building set. Also great for counting and identifying line edges and vertices.
Take a closer look at some 3D shapes with these View-Thru Geometric Solids
And since you can’t ever have enough geometric shape sets, we also like this set which includes shapes of different sizes.
This set will teach students how to fold the shape! If the student can see how the shape is folded, then they can truly see all the different edges and vertices.
Let’s not forget about the importance of also studying 2D shapes. For that particular task, I like these Geoboards that you can use with rubber bands. Set your students loose on these boards and see what they can come up with. You can also put them side by side to make bigger shapes!
As you start working on graphing, these Graphing Dry-Erase Mats will save paper and allow students to demonstrate work quickly.
Manipulatives for Practicing…Numbers in Base 10 Blocks (whole numbers and decimals)
In addition to the Place Value Interactive Freebie, I also like using these place value blocks to get a better ‘look’ at place value, and as students get better at ‘seeing’ the place values, these place value disks are pretty awesome for another level of differentiation or just as a next step in the process.
Lastly, these place value cards can be overlapped to practice place values as high as the millions and down to three decimal places.
Manipulatives for Practicing…Measurement
I also like using soft tape measures to measure items that aren’t 2D or that have some curve to them.
As teachers, we all know and appreciate the need to have lots of ways to teach different concepts to students. Using these creative math manipulatives in your upper elementary classroom will get you started in having hands-on opportunities whenever the need arises.
What creative math manipulatives do you use? Where did you get them? We’d love to know! Reach out via email or in the comments to share some of your best creative math manipulatives for your upper elementary classroom!