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Teaching about Mathematics using Manipulatives: Home

Kits and books useful for teaching math concepts to students in grades PreK-8.

Why Use Math Manipulatives?

Teachers of mathematics for centuries have helped students understand mathematics using “manipulatives”-- visual objects that help illustrate mathematical relationships and applications. Manipulatives allow students to visually examine, explore and develop concepts.

Subjects covered include number operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, probability, and more.

Common manipulatives are:

  • pattern blocks
  • tangrams
  • Cuisenaire rods
  • interlocking cubes
  • color tiles
  • fraction strips
  • geoboards

Place Value Blocks

Place Value Blocks (Base Ten Blocks)

Journal Articles

Burns, Marilyn. 1996. "How to Make the Most of Math Manipulatives." Instructor, 105(7): 45-51.
     How to use math manipulatives to teach elementary students. Focuses on essential program elements: what math manipulatives are and why they are used, common questions about math manipulatives, how one teacher introduced the geoboard into the classroom, and pattern block activities. 

Location:  ETL Bound Journals


Quick Links

Find additional articles by searching one or more databases:


For Teachers

CML 372.7 H2355
Hands-on standards: the first source for introducing math manipulatives. / by Mark Schmit; Nancy Berkas; Cynthia Pattison.  ETA Cuisenaire, 2006-2008.

CML 512 H2365
Hands-on standards algebra 1: the first source for introducing math manipulatives. / ETA Cuisenaire, 2010.

CML 372.7 C598s
Shoe Box Math Learning Centers: 40 Easy-to-make, Fun-to-use Centers ... that help kids practice important math skills independently. / by Jacqueline Clarke. Scholastic, 2002.

CML  372.7 S522m
Math, manipulatives & magic wands: manipula­tives, literature ideas, and hands-on math activities for the K-5 classroom. / Karen Simmons, Cindy Guinn. 2001.

CML 372.7 G342
Geoboards.  Cuisenaire. 1996.

CML 372.7 B655a
Activity Math: Using Manipulatives in the Classroom. / Anne M. Bloomer, Phyllis A. T. Carlson. 1993.

CML 372.7 H236
Hands-on Standards: Photo-Illustrated Lessons for Teaching with Math Manipulatives. Learning Resources. 2006.

CML 516 W642a
The Amazing Circle. AIMS Education Foundation. 1997.


Teaching the common core math standards with hands-on activities, grades 3-5. / Judith A. Muschla, Gary Robert Muschla, Erin Muschla-Berry. 2014.

Other Contributors

The original layout for this page was created by Karen Morris, last updated April 2016 by Shannon Bowman.