Maths manipulatives are physical objects or tools used in teaching Maths concepts to make abstract ideas more tangible and easier to grasp. Maths manipulatives come in the form of blocks, counters, dice, shapes rulers’ graphs or any material which can be moved or moved around to represent Mathematical ideas.
Maths manipulatives can be especially helpful when supporting special educational needs (SEN) students, providing a hands-on learning approach that engages multiple senses and helps bridge understanding gaps. Here are a few ways Maths manipulatives can support SEN students:
Visual Representation: Maths manipulatives can provide concrete examples to illustrate abstract concepts, like adding and subtracting, as well as showing their progression on a number line. Visual representation can be especially beneficial to students by having something tangible to refer to that helps them comprehend challenging ideas more readily.
Tactile Learning: Maths manipulatives offer tactile learning experiences for students who struggle with abstract ideas, providing hands-on experiences that help build their sense of touch and engage their senses. This can be especially helpful for SEN students who thrive when given tangible objects to manipulate for learning purposes.
Multi-Sensory Learning: Maths manipulatives engage multiple senses, which is especially helpful for special education students (SEN), who tend to learn best with visual, tactile, and auditory experiences. Using dice as part of an addition or subtraction lesson provides such an experience, helping SEN children retain information more effectively.
Differentiated Learning: Maths manipulatives can be a useful way of differentiating learning experiences for SEN students. For instance, those struggling with addition and subtraction concepts could use manipulatives as visual aids, while more advanced students could use similar manipulatives to solve more challenging problems.
Engaging Learning: Maths manipulatives can make Maths learning more engaging and enjoyable for SEN students, which may reduce anxiety and increase motivation resulting in enhanced academic performance.
Overall, Maths manipulatives can be an invaluable asset when supporting special education students with their Maths education. By providing an engaging hands-on learning experience that engages multiple senses and can visually represent abstract concepts for better comprehension; Maths manipulatives also allow teachers to create a more inclusive learning environment which addresses all student needs simultaneously.