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# Year 1 Update: Hands-On Learning in Maths

In Year 1 this week the children have been learning ‘Numbers to 20’ which includes learning place values by representing numbers in different ways. One of these is using MAB blocks or manipulatives to engage students in the hands-on learning of Mathematics. They can be used to introduce, practice, or remediate a concept. A manipulative may be as simple as grains of rice or as sophisticated as a model of our solar system. They may be store-bought, brought from home, or teacher- or student-made. They can be used in all areas of math instruction-teaching numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and so on-and across all grade levels. The manipulatives that are used in Year 1 include place-value mats which can be used to show each digit’s place value when using base-10 blocks. Also, Base-10 MAB blocks are used to model the variety of ways a number can be represented and to model regrouping when adding and subtracting. It is also a good way to check your work and correct errors. Why Is It Important? According to learning theory based on psychologist Jean Piaget’s research, children are active learners who master concepts by progressing through three levels of knowledge–concrete, pictorial, and abstract. The use of manipulatives enables students to explore concepts at the first, or concrete, level of understanding. When students manipulate objects, they are taking the necessary first steps toward building understanding and internalizing Maths processes and procedures. If you ask the children I’m sure they’ll agree that using manipulatives is a fun way to learn which helps you to retain your improved Maths skills in ways you will not forget.

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