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Creative Math Manipulatives in your Upper Elementary classroom

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.

Creative Math Manipulatives for your Upper Elementary Classroom Pinterest Image with 3D shapes and pie-shaped fractions

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

(This post features affiliate links. This means that, at no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through the links in this post.)

Manipulatives for practicing…Fractions

Practice identifying and creating fractions with this Magnetic Fraction Tiles & Circles Magnet Set, or maybe your students will prefer these layered fraction cards.

Another way to practice fractions is with these colored counters, or you can get your students a better visual of the fractions you’re considering with these Fraction Number-Line Dry Erase Mats

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.

Having a set of Interlocking Cubes will come in handy as you work on volume, and this basic set of GeoStix will allow you lots of flexibility as you work on angle measuring!

Manipulatives for Practicing…Numbers in Base 10 Blocks (whole numbers and decimals)

You can start with our Place Value Interactive Freebie and this blog post (which thoroughly breaks down some activity ideas). You can also print the display pieces smaller so students can have their own set.

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.

As you start to consider decimals in your place value conversation, you may want to include some play money or these transparent decimal squares.

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

When it comes to hands-on measurement practice, students need things to measure with. I like these transparent rulers and protractors.

I also like using soft tape measures to measure items that aren’t 2D or that have some curve to them.

Lastly, when we are working with volume, these transparent liquid measuring sets are really cool, and these foam blocks are great, too!

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. 

Creative Math Manipulatives for your Upper Elementary Classroom Facebook Image with transparent measurement devices pie-shaped fractions

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!

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