in math education has shown that children learn math concepts
better when their concrete-operational needs are taken into
consideration. Consider the use of manipulatives such as base-ten
blocks and algebra tiles. Researchers are also studying the
effectiveness of socio-cultural methods such as class discussion,
group problem-solving and invented strategies in math education.
BYU professor Dr. Stephanie Smith is currently involved in a
six-year longitudinal study with a group of elementary students
at Canyon Crest elementary to study the effects of using these
through the year, the 2nd grade teachers at Lincoln Elementary
decided that some of their students weren't being challenged
enough in mathematics. A retired teacher was hired to teach
an accelerated math class to about 24 students. Within a week,
some children who had been excelling in their regular classrooms
began to flounder. 7-year-old Kevin was one of those children.
Kevin didn't seem to understand the concept of carrying and
he missed most of his worksheet problems. He began to act out
in class. On his next grade report, Kevin received a C- in math.
The new teacher, who had never worked with manipulatives, had
taught the children the algorithm for carrying, but had not
presented the concept in a way that made sense to Kevin and
some of the other children. Once his regular classroom teacher
demonstrated the concept using manipulatives, Kevin quickly
caught on and caught up to his classmates.
the problems associated with using manipulatives and socio-cultural
methods of learning in a math classroom? Are the problems worth