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No matter how small your math group is, there's still a good chance you will have as many different levels as you have students. I'm sharing our favorite math manipulatives we use to differentiate and meet all math needs.

WHERE do we get all our math manipulatives?

These pictures make it look like we have A LOT – and we do – but it's more about the variety than the quantity.

I don't know if all these options will work for you, but here's how I ended up with so many math choices:

  • Curriculums and Centers – I inherited a majority of the math manipulatives we use from old discontinued curriculum and centers. I realize that's probably not an option for most of you, but keep an eye out at garage sales and storage closets!
  • Games – same advice for board games – garage sales may have games that don't look all that fun, but you can grab their tokens for a fun hands-on math tool!
  • Craft Supplies – pom poms are the softest, QUIETEST, math manipulative around!
  • Donors Choose – hopefully you're lucky enough to be allowed to utilize this service in your district.
  • Mini-Erasers – they're not just cute, they're practical for inexpensive math counters!

More creative solutions for hands-on math manipulatives – buttons, dried beans, blocks (foam, Lego building blocks), dominoes, paper-based, and dice (look in those old board games!).

Differentiation Using Math Manipulatives

Sometimes manipulatives are for novelty – a bit of colorful excitement while practice our math skills. But other times they are critical in turning abstract mathematical ideas into concrete.

Not all math manipulatives are created equal. I find that some work better than others, so it's great if you can offer variety. Small individual-size containers make this easy (and fun):

As I'm finding great deals online, I'm dropping them into the Positively Learning Amazon store.

Click here to check them out!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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