Manipulatives are tools used for
interactive, hands-on learning. These can
be three-dimensional objects like
puzzles, blocks,and shapes, or computer
applications or simulations that help in
the grasping of ideas and acquiring skills.
These are teaching aids that can be
manipulated and explored by the
student using hands-on approach.
In ancient times,
been used mostly for
show that the oldest
board is the Salamis
Tablet, used by the
During Greek and Roman times, the Roman hand-abacus was
created out of stone and metal. The Abacus that we know today
first appeared in 1200 AD in China. They call it the suan-pan. There
were also variations made by the Japanese and the Russians.
Pestalozzi developed the
"Pestalozzi Method" of
learning which is basically
hands-on learning in the
1800s. In his book, How
Gertrude Teacher Her
Children, Pestalozzi says
that we should begin with
concrete objects before
In 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel developed the
concept of "Kindergarten," where children learn by playing.
He introduced the "Froebel Gifts" such as balls, wooden
blocks, tiles, sticks and rings that used for learning.
idea and created
materials for older
MONTESSORI METHOD OF LEARNING
In the 1990s, computational
capabilities are embedded into
blocks, beads and other toys.
This kind of research hoped for
children to learn new concepts
using the kindergarten
approach, especially those that
they perceive as "too
With the advent of personal computers and virtual learning,
researches also developed manipulatives further by creating
programs and animated images that can be manipulated by the
user. Because of this, manipulatives are now being used by a lot of
different fields of study, and have been really helpful especially in
the field of Science.
BEFORE: Used for learners in the early grades
TODAY: Used by different demographics
Grasping of concepts
Understanding basic principles
Uses concrete objects
Alphabet blocks are very helpful tools for young children
to learn the Alphabet and have fun at the same time.
These cubes are used for different purposes. They can be
used in Math as visual representations, or making patterns.
They can also be used for building objects or forms.
The clay dough is made of malleable substances used for arts
and crafts in home or school.
Pattern blocks are used for building geometric
shapes or images.
The abacus is a counting frame
used for calculation.
Monopoly is an example of a board game that
simulates property and financial dealings using
imitation money and game pieces.
Puzzles are made of pieces that are meant to be joined
together in a logical way in order to come up with a certain
Origami is the Japanese Art of folding paper into shapes,
Result of continuous development of
Digital Manipulatives: Combination of
electronic devices with traditional
manipulatives such as lego blocks, beads, and
Wider demographic reach.
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Virtual music simulators make use of simulations of musical
instruments that can produce sounds like that of the real thing.
The Hangaroo is a version of the Hangman where the
user tries to guess a word or phrase based on a given
These online books are virtual version of the printed ones.
They are interactive and further aids in the learning process of
The Typing Tutor is a popular virtual manipulative that is
used for enhancing one's skill in typing.
This is a kind of Math Manipulative where there are
visual representations of fractions, which help in solving
for the required answer.
This game is a simulation of how
to be a mother.
Interactive maps contain a lot of details. The user can
zoom in and out of locations, as well as learn the
different places in a certain area.
Learning while playing
Concrete objects used for abstract reasoning
Tendency to be focused on nothing else
Supervision needed especially for early grades
Progress is hard to monitor, and cannot be easily
Attention-catching, fun and motivational
A lot of potential for program improvement
Availability at the comfort of home
Learning by discovery
Limited to computer/internet users
Tendency to focus on nothing else
A lot of distractions in the World Wide Web
Some programs/ games can be addictive
Manipulatives are TOOLS used for
INTERACTIVE, HANDS-ON LEARNING.
There are two types of Manipulatives:
TRADITIONAL and DIGITAL/VIRTUAL
Virtual Manipulatives can either be
STATIC or DYNAMIC
Manipulatives can be used in different fields
of study such as Math, Science, English and