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Sep 242013

This is the fourth in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts, Part 3-Access Materials/Added Value)

Virtual manipulatives help students learn through inquiry by providing teachers with easily adjustable visual tools.  Students can test their ideas, explore the effects of changing variables, and formulate theories based on results.

Below are four manipulatives that help students learn through inquiry.

areaArea and Perimeter Relationship

Students investigate and form theories about the relationship between area and perimeter by changing one variable and observing the resulting change in the other.



kidsKids and Cookies

Students explore the concept of fractions by sharing cookies equally between different numbers of students.  Both “fraction of a group” and “fraction of a whole” concepts can be explored.



notesNote Flight

Students create short online compositions and play back their creations to explore a variety of musical concepts including melody, harmony, and note value.



colorColor William

Students mix colors to explore what secondary colors can be created by mixing primary colors and what intermediate colors can be made by mixing primary and secondary colors.


New Social Studies Topic Group

 Posted by on September 18, 2013  Content Additions  Comments Off
Sep 182013

jamestownThis summer, a new category of content was added:  Social Studies.  This new category is loaded with hundreds of digital resources to help you make your social studies lessons interactive and interesting.  Resources are grouped into 11 topics.

In the Geography topic group, topics include:  Continents and Oceans, Landforms, Maps, Regions, and States and Capitals.

In the History topic group, topics include: Colonial Times, Explorers, Native Americans, Railroads, and The Underground Railroad.

The Government topic group includes content on the branches of government.

And we’re not done yet!  Throughout the fall, you will see our Science and Social Studies resources expand with new topics, so if you are looking for something specific and can’t find it in our library, let us know!


Sep 102013

Aunt Chip

Over the summer, we added to our growing collection of picture book guides.  The list now reaches over 40!  If you aren’t familiar, picture book guides help you to easily use our picture book resources by providing a ready to-go lesson plan developed by a fellow teacher. Content guides for picture books include digital connections, launching activities, example questions, enrichment ideas, answer keys, and standards correlations.  You can check out two of our guides here:


Stellaluna by Janell Cannon


Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco


All guides are included for free in StarrMatica’s Classroom Management system, or can be purchased individually by non-members in Emily Starr’s Teachers Pay Teachers store.  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Emily-Starr

Sep 042013

This is the third in a series of seven posts sharing reasons virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the classroom including specific practical examples.  (The previous posts can be viewed here:  Part 1-Visualizing, Part 2-Explore Difficult Concepts)

Unlike hands-on math manipulatives, virtual manipulatives are found online.  While this means students are unable to touch the manipulatives, online versions of common manipulatives can be beneficial in other ways.  Classroom budgets don’t always allow us to purchase all the tools and resources we need.  Online manipulatives are an inexpensive (and usually free) way to supplement your manipulative supplies.  So, if you can’t afford a classroom set of fraction bars or if a fellow teacher is using the school’s set when you need them, an online version can be used in its place.

Online manipulatives, when paired with an interactive whiteboard or projector, help all students in the classroom have an equal opportunity to see the manipulative without huddling around a table.

Online manipulatives also provide added value.  They often have features that can be turned on and off and have added learning opportunities that are not possible with traditional hands-on manipulatives.  The virtual clocks shared below include the ability show both digital and analog time as well as sunrise and sunset to assist in a discussion of AM and PM.

Below are four manipulatives that help students by adding value or providing access to materials.

clock1Telling Time:  Virtual Clock

Advance the hands on the analog clock to watch the sun and moon rise and set.  Reveal and hide the digital time.


clock 2Telling Time:  Virtual Clock II

Advance the hands on the analog clock.  Reveal and hide the time in word form and the digital time.


place valuePlace Value Cards

Create three digit numbers, separate them into values, and display their representative base ten blocks.


solidsPlatonic Solids

Rotate and count the faces, edges, and vertices of the five Platonic Solids.  Watch each solid fold and unfold from its net