Introduction: Algebra Manipulatives
As digital resources and instructional practices become more common with today’s students, I still find great value in the use of analog materials. This includes the use of manipulatives in the algebra classroom.
In preparation for working with Algebra 1 students in the fall, this set of plans allows students to transform a single sheet of card stock into a set of manipulatives that become powerful instructional tools.
One sheet of white card stock
Markers or colored pencils (blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, red)
Step 1: Setting Up the Card Stock
Using the ruler and pencil, divide the sheet as shown.
Large squares = 2” x 2”, medium squares = 1” x 1”, small squares = ½” x ½”, rectangles = ½’ x 2”
Step 2: Coloring the Cardstock - Front
On the bottom row of medium squares, number each tile 0 - 9.
Color the other three rows of medium squares orange.
Color the large squares blue.
Color the small squares yellow.
Color the rectangles green.
Step 3: Coloring the Card Stock - Back
Cut the sheet into the sections as shown.
Number the back of the number squares with 0 and -1 through -9.
Color the back of the orange squares purple.
Color the back of the blue, green and yellow shapes red.
Step 4: Cutting the Shapes
Cut the shapes following the grid lines drawn prior to coloring.
Step 5: Using the Shapes - Number Squares
The number squares can be use when exploring Open Middle Problems.
You can find additional Open Middle problems here: https://www.openmiddle.com/
The number squares can also be used to play with puzzles such as 1 to 9 Puzzles.
Step 6: Using the Shapes - Colored Squares
Visual Patterns are a powerful way to explore:
- Arithmetic and Geometric Sequences
- Perimeter and Area
The squares can be used to model the Visual Pattern.
You can find more Visual Patterns here: http://www.visualpatterns.org/
Step 7: Using the Shapes - Algebra Tiles
Algebra Tiles are powerful manipulatives when exploring and modeling algebraic topics.
You can find out more about how to use Algebra Tiles HERE.
Step 8: Storing the Manipulatives
Use a plastic bag or an envelope.
You can also make an origami envelope following these directions: http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-envel...
The origami envelope has three pockets, one for each set of manipulatives.
Step 9: Printing Your Own Set of Manipulatives
While making their own set of manipulatives increases student ownership and buy-in, it may be easier to print the sheets with or without the coloring. Here are some templates that can be printed out.
Step 10: Feedback & Suggestions?
Thanks so much for checking out this Instructable! If you have any feedback or suggestions to pass along, I would love to hear from you!