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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Chrispen Matsika

Abstract

I have taught math at Southwest Laurens Elementary for the past twenty years, my first twelve years as a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade Title I teacher and my last eight years as a self-contained regular education fourth grade teacher. For all twenty years I have taught at least one math class. One concern I have often had with the math curriculum at my school was the exclusion of many math manipulatives either because of lack of funding or because of the required time for preparation of lessons and instruction when including manipulatives. In this research project, I explored the importance of manipulatives and whether they actually do make a difference in the learning of mathematical concepts. Based on my observations, I found that students tend to be motivated and enjoy math more when using manipulatives. They became actively engaged in learning new concepts. I found that there was much more communication between students instead of just between the students and the teacher. I also noticed more higher order questions being asked and/or explored. Finally, pretest and posttest scores indicated that the learning of math concepts was significantly improved when teaching using manipulatives.

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