Math Manipulatives That Require No Manipulation

A lot of schools send reading lists home with students for the summer, which is fantastic! But does your school also provide them resources for maintaining or sharpening their math skills over the summer? If not, and you can still get in touch with students, I highly recommend Utah State University’s National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM).

All NLVM activities are free, and are organized by the five major strands (Numbers & Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability) within each of four grade level ranges (PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). And there’s a good balance between activities that target traditional math skills and those that involve critical thinking. 

Best of all, when it comes to student engagement, there’s no need to resort to manipulation with these manipulatives. NLVM is so fun that my own children (10 and 8) choose it over other popular (and less educational) kid websites (NLVM has an electronic version of the logic game Mastermind that my kids are especially hooked on).

And whether or not you’re able to connect students with NLVM this summer, I encourage you to play around with it as you prepare for the fall, since it’s a great supplemental resource for multiple purposes: remediation, reinforcement, and enrichment (perfect for early finishers if you have computers in your room). You can even incorporate it into your direct instruction if you have an LCD projector.


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