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.
Students investigate and form theories about the relationship between area and perimeter by changing one variable and observing the resulting change in the other.
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.
Students create short online compositions and play back their creations to explore a variety of musical concepts including melody, harmony, and note value.
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.