Why should we use manipulatives to teach math?

So you want your children to like math and get good grades so they can have rewarding careers, but you hated math class in school. Or maybe you were just bored or confused or frustrated. Do you have a "mental block" against math now? Do memories of the "new math" make your palms sweat and your knees shake? Now you want to save your children from all that pain.

Math Dynamics is a powerful approach that makes learning math a fun experience for both you and your child. You are creating a mathematical environment for your child using fun games and activities. Very young children learn language from listening to the people around them talk. In the same manner children should first learn math from their surroundings.

One key element of this method of learning math is its focus on a few main concepts that are the basis of our number system. These concepts can be discovered by young children as well as older children and adults through play and discovery using math blocks. These plastic blocks are a model of the structure of our number system. Once you get a firm grasp on the few main concepts, then you can learn to apply them to many different problems and solve them easily.

"But what about practice and learning facts?" you say. The Math Dynamics discovery activities help children master their facts with much more ease and enjoyment than with flash cards and "drill and practice" worksheets. The more they enjoy math the more they'll practice, and the more they practice the better they'll get!

There are several points that you should keep in mind as you do these activities with your children. Never say "that's not right" or "you're wrong". Try phrases like "let's see if that works" or "maybe there's another way we can do that". When they lose interest, quit for today and try again later. Don't push and above all, ALWAYS keep it FUN!

So put away all your old mental blocks about math, put your mind in gear for discovery, get out your math blocks, and let's go!

A note about the name: Math Dynamics is the name I use for this concept-oriented method of teaching math using rectangular blocks. The method itself is not new nor is it my invention. Many people have used this method for decades. All the teachers and students using this method are the ones who developed it. Each has added his or her own games or demonstrations. I wrote the book Math Dynamics because many teachers have asked for a written collection of these ideas and there was none that I could find.

I sell products from several different companies. They coordinate very nicely because they all use the same philosophy of teaching math with manipulatives as described above.