This is the sixth 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, Part 4- Inquiry Learning, Part 5 – A New Way to Present)
Virtual manipulatives are often thought of as teaching tools, but they can also be tools for students to use to demonstrate their understanding of a concept. Watching the way in which a student utilizes a manipulative can tell a teacher the depth of his understanding, the source of a mis-conception, or whether or not a student can apply his knowledge of a concept. For students, using a manipulative for assessment can be a more interesting and authentic experience than paper/pencil tests. Using manipulatives for assessments can also provide additional support for exceptional students who need modified testing accommodations.
Below are three manipulatives that can help students demonstrate their understanding of a concept.
Students can use this interactive balance to demonstrate their ability to balance equations and finding missing digits and operations.
Students can demonstrate their ability to find a fraction of a whole and to explain equivalent fractions using halves, fourths, eighths, and sixteenths.
Students can use their own data to create a bar graph, line graph, area graph, pie graph, or XY graph.