Manipulatives are core to teaching math. In the classroom, there are several standard manipulatives that teachers use to teach concepts such as addition, multiplication, fractions, place value etc and make abstract concepts more tangible. Students manipulate these objects to understand and demonstrate core concepts in math. Nearpod Math supports remote and in-person learning by integrating virtual manipulatives into lessons. Nearpod Math includes the following manipulatives: Algebra Tiles, Fraction Tiles, Color Tiles, and Base Ten Blocks.
Note: Math manipulatives are available to Schools and Districts with Premium Plus licenses who have also purchased Nearpod Math.
In this article, you will find:
- Descriptions of four math manipulative options.
- Adding a math manipulative activity to any lesson.
- Customize a math manipulative activity.
Four math manipulative options
Algebra Tiles involve students in strengthening algebraic thinking, including manipulating integers, algebraic expressions, adding and subtracting polynomials, factoring trinomials, the Zero Principle, and solving first and second degree equations. Each tile represents the quantities x, x², and 1 along with their additive inverses.
Base 10 Blocks
Base Ten Blocks provide a hands-on way for students to learn place value concepts of both whole numbers and decimals, operations, measurement, and more. Base ten blocks are dynamic; blocks can be composed and/or decomposed in real time.
Color Tiles are a collection of square tiles, one inch on a side, in four colors–red, blue, yellow, and green. The tiles have applications in all areas of the math curriculum including counting, estimating, measuring, building understanding of place value, investigating multiplication patterns, solving problems with fractions, exploring geometric shapes, carrying out probability experiments, and more.
Fraction Tiles enable students to explore fractions, fractional equivalence, add and subtract fractions, work with mixed numbers, and more. Proportionally sized tiles help students compare fractional values.
Adding a math manipulative activity to a lesson
When editing or creating a math lesson in Nearpod all four of the math manipulative activities can be added to any lesson. When viewing the create lesson screen you click the Add Content and Activity.
Choose Math Manipulatives from the Activities section. Select the manupulative you want to use and click add. You can now customize the Math Manipulative Activity in your lesson.
Customize a math manipulative activity
All of the math Activities have the same steps for creating and editing. There are a few details that are different between the four types of Activities. Those differences are noted in the directions below.
When first creating an Activity, there are three broad steps. The first is to create instructions for your students. Add a background that will support the learning and pre-place manipulatives or let students' start from scratch.
All manipulative option has the option to use either a blank background or add any background from teacher resources. (PDF, PNG, JPEG) Use the blank background option to remove any background previously viewed.
The workspace areas can also be customized using the tools at the bottom of the screen. These tools are available for the teacher when creating the Activity AND for the student when interacting with the Activity as part of the learning.
Note: The rich text editor, in the text tool, includes the option for you as the teacher and for your student to use the Math Type option. After clicking Advanced on the text option, choose the square root symbol √ at the end of the choices. This will open a separate window where you can type using math characters and symbols. Once you complete your math typing, click insert and that information will be added to your original text box.
Each Activity also has two additional background options built into the platform.
When using Nearpod Math’s Base Ten place value backgrounds, note that there are additional options at the bottom of the screen to edit the number of columns or the color of the place value column headers.
Whether adding the virtual manipulative as part of creating the Activity, or if students add them while participating in the learning, there are several ways the individual pieces can be used. All manipulatives, in all four Activities, can be duplicated or deleted once it has been placed on the workspace.
Algebra Tiles and Base Ten Blocks have additional options that are unique to the ways in which those tiles will be manipulated to support the understanding of the math concepts.
Algebra Tiles also allows for teachers or students to drag tile(s) over its additive inverse and create a disappearing zero-pair.
After customizing the manipulatives and/or the workspace for your students, click save in the bottom right corner to add the math manipulative Activity to your lesson.