Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 3: Teaching Through Problem Solving to Build Grit and Perseverance › Lesson 33: GoTo Tools to Build Grit & Fuel Sense Making › Lesson 33: Discussion Prompt
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Lesson 33: Discussion Prompt
Kyle Pearce updated 1 week, 1 day ago 48 Members · 62 Posts 
What was your big take away from this lesson?
How might you use the tool discussed?
What is something you are still wondering?

My big takeaway is “concrete manipulatives” are extremely important in developing sense making. I am going to take this lesson and use it with a year 8 (grade 7) group. I love the learning centre app but will also use physical tiles to add to the concrete feel of the questions. I plan to start small “dial down the math” and work up to more complex problems.
Something I am wondering is, it seems easy to see how I can apply concrete manipulatives to fractions but how could I apply it to other topics?

I been using concrete manipulatives for a long time now and have always had links to virtual manipulatives for my students to use to help make sense of different math concepts. If I do any teaching, it has to do with demonstrating different ways the various manipulatives can be used. I regularly attend the webinars from BrainingCamp. The ideas presented are so practical for my students. My class have made BrainingCamp their go to place to start their thinking. It is here that I might provide some hints to push them through productive struggle.

My big take away from this lesson was the reminder that the concrete manipulative allow students to build their own cognitive models and with the rush to teach students algorithms they have a weak foundation and those very abstract concepts learned later in HS math only become further out of reach for many of those students.
I am curious about the norming process for using concrete manipulative at the HS level. There is such a rush to cover the needed curriculum demands that there is not the buy in at the teacher level and thus students miss this valuable opportunity to create their own lasting understandings. My hope with my alternative math pathway course I can demonstrate the power of manipulative in HS.

I feel like my take away here is that I finally feel like there is something I am doing right. I have always made a point to use concrete manipulatives in my classroom, and I have them at the ready for kids. “Can I use tiles” is an often heard question in my classroom, followed by “You know where they are….”. I’m using them even more digitally (we’ve been remote all year, and that seems to be the way forward for the rest of the 2021 school year), and I sure like them, but notice the difference between digital and concrete, especially for my 6th graders.

The biggest takeaway is your reference to the Coaching Habit by Micheal Stanier. It makes me think of the idea that I learned as a new teacher and not taking the pencil from the student. The student should be writing the work instead of myself. But when I am quick to give solutions, algorithms, or this is how I would do it, it is taking the pencil away from students’ critical thinking.
I always use concrete manipulatives with my higher students. It gives the students a challenge who can manipulate a problem abstractly a challenge to represent an idea concretely. I will be honest, the Marian smalls problem with the hexagon stumped me at first because I found a representation abstractly but was unaware of how to represent using a concrete model. Once I saw it, it was clear how this would help uncomplicate fractions. The use of a physical visual representation makes the math a lot clearer.
I wonder how I can show students how concrete manipulatives are a valuable tool that is not showing you are slow in math but a robust mathematical thinker by creating a physical representation.

Great reflections here.
One of the biggest shifts I experienced with using manipulatives was asking students to model their thinking using the manipulatives to help me understand their thinking. So if a student did the work symbolically, Iâ€™d ask them to help me understand with the manipulatives or a visual representation and visa versa. This is a way to force all students to think and make connections to different representations.

My big takeaway is the website. With a COVID world, I worry about how manipulatives can fit it. This digital app is great and cuts out some of the logisitcs of passing out, etc. I think in an ideal world, the tactile nature of touching and moving the pieces would be better.
Regarding how I could use it in 7th/8th grade, I see it as a nice warmup activity on a day when some of the work will involve multiplying fractions: 1/6 of 1/2 is a little green triangle (or 1/12).

Awesome stuff! Plus we have great fractions operations tasks in the problem based lessons area: learn.makemathmoments.com/tasks


Concrete manipulatives are the key. We use them to start the year in 2nd grade to learn place value, especially when we move to regrouping. Once students have the firm conceptual understanding, we can use pictures instead.