Posts tagged math
Third Grade Math Manipulative Must Haves

One of my favorite parts of my classroom is the math manipulative shelf.  I try to keep it stocked with a variety of materials that can help students build concrete models of all sorts of math problems.  

Bingo Dots - a must have math manipulative in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

We have a rule in my class: if you can’t solve a math problem on your own you must build it before asking for help.  So much of third-grade math is abstract: the perimeter of imaginary places, the area of imaginary floors and walls, fractions of abstract objects, imaginary money being exchanged between two people, etc.  These can all be tricky concepts to visualize mentally.

Our school has never provided any math manipulatives, but I have slowly gathered a set of must-have manipulatives for third grade.  Check them out!

Bears

My students love counting bears.  They are easy to grasp and can help to model addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These come in especially handy as students are learning to multiply and divide.  

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Bingo Dots

These are a particularly inexpensive manipulative.  Along with our bears we use bingo dots to make physical representations of most addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.  One of my favorite ways to use bingo dots is during our first multiplication lesson of the year. We build arrays with bingo dots.  It's a quick and easy lesson that is super hands-on!  

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Fraction Pieces and Magnets

I always introduce fractions with manipulatives.  Having students build fractions really helps them to develop a concrete understanding of how you can have a fraction of an item. Although there are many cut-and-glue fraction sets, I prefer to use store-bought ones. I just find that when students cut them out their pieces are not always exact, and this leads to confusion when trying to compare fractions.

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching
Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Money

Play money is a great manipulative to add.  In third grade, we spend a lot of time counting counts and subtracting money.  I have a handful of students who prefer to count physical money and this is great for them!  When doing word problems about ‘buying something at a store’ my students know how to role-play this in pairs and use play money to find their answer.

Clocks

Teaching time (especially quarter-to, quarter-past, and half-past) is such a tricky part of third-grade math.  I always teach the first time lessons with each student holding a clock.  Then, as they get to these questions in their homework and independent practice they are able to return to those clocks to physically create each time (or elapsed time) that is needed.  I love how using a clock really helps to cement this concept for most students!

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching

Drawing Paper

This is the least expensive of all my manipulatives!  I keep a stack of scrap paper in my math manipulative area. I find that it is super helpful when students are able to draw out a problem - particularly when it involves distance (i.e. “A car travels 250 miles…”) or area/perimeter.  Some of my students are super successful when they are able to make a quick sketch and add in dimensions to visualize the ‘whole picture’.

I’m always looking to add to my math manipulative collection.  What works best in your class? Send me an e-mail or sound off in the comments below!

 

Must-have math manipulatives in third grade - Poet Prints Teaching
Why I Love Task Cards

I have to be honest, I had never heard of task cards before this school year.

I know, I’m way behind on this one!

I found out about task cards as a necessity, I had a student who was struggling, and I needed a way to find extra practice for him on that particular topic.

A little bit of googling led me to ... task cards!

What are task cards?

For those unfamiliar, task cards are cards (4-6 usually fit on one 8.5”x11” piece of paper) that have educational ‘tasks’ on them.

Task cards can be created for all subjects.

A set of math task cards would usually come in a pack of  about 20, and would be geared for a particular subject.

They might have questions for a student to solve, things for them to find around the room, or mental math problems for them to figure out.

The great part about task cards is that the cards themselves can be re-used for years to come!

I have to say, I am now one of the biggest advocates of these teaching tools as a method for easily differentiating learning in any classroom.

It is so simple to put together a series of cards for any subject, and then to give them out to different students, as they need to work on a subject.

In my room, we do this most often with math.

(Above: 3D Shape Task Cards easily used with our unit on geometric shapes!) 

Need some extra practice with geometric shapes?  No problem, grab those cards! 

Having difficulty multiplying with tens... no problem, grab the cards and work on that with a buddy who already understands the concept! 

I can easily divide my students into small groups and tailor the lesson for exactly what each one needs, without having to continuously photocopy worksheet after worksheet.

I love that once task cards are laminated, they are reusable and kid-friendly.

I keep mine in a colourful bucket on the carpet and my students have been known to grab a pack in their spare time just to “see if [they] can do it!”

Have you ever used task cards in your classroom? Do you have a go-to pack?

- Rachel

Check out PART TWO of this series, “What to do With Task Cards” for more ideas of how to creatively incorporate task cards into your classroom routines.