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Hands-On and Problem-Solving Approaches to Teaching Mathematics

This Institute for teachers focuses on using hands-on and problem solving approaches to help students meet the standards, whether they are in general or special education. It will be tailored to meet the needs of the requesting school or district.

Description: This Institute will promote a model for mathematics that stresses understanding, reasoning, problem solving, communication, and connections. A variety of manipulative materials will be used to teach standards-based mathematics.

Objective: Upon successful completion of this Institute, participants will recognize the power of teaching and learning mathematics through concrete materials. Emphasis will be on competence in teaching math by purposeful transition through concrete, pictorial, and symbolic stages of representation.

(Note: This extensive menu of activities will be narrowed in focus, reflecting the best interest of the participants.)

Day 1: Participants will be presented an overview of the philosophy of hands-on approaches to mathematics education. Participants will use interlocking cubes to model patterns, early number and spatial activities, linear, square, and cubic measurement (perimeter, area, and volume), problem solving, permutations, geometry, and games.

Day 2: Participants will use pattern blocks, tangrams, geoboards, straight-edges, and compasses to explore geometry, including tessellations. Concepts and computation of fractions will be modeled with pattern blocks.

Day 3: Participants will use base 10 blocks to model place value, concepts and alternative algorithms for computation, decimals, and percents. Participants will use cards, coins, dice, chips, and cubes to explore probability and statistics.

Day 4: Participants will use chips, multi-base blocks, and algebra tiles to model integers, polynomials, combining like terms, and solving equations.

Day 5: Participants will use Cuisenaire rods and coins to model concepts of time and money. Participants will use attribute blocks to explore attributes, comparisons, sets, logic, and Venn diagrams. Participants will use straws, yarn, poster board, and rubber bands to create polyhedral models.