National Library of Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics

Name:National Library of Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics

Brief Description of the Site:
A product of Utah State University and a three-year National Science Federation (NSF) grant, this awesome site uses the power of Java scripting to create colorful and addictive on-screen manipulatives designed to teach dozens of mathematical concepts, all related to NCTM standards. The main screen is a clickable matrix of skill areas (Number & Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Data Analysis and Probability, and Measurement) and grade levels (Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). Click on Number & Operations for Grades 3-5 and up comes a screen of some 40 choices, from A(bacus) to V(enn diagrams). Especially intriguing were the various activities based upon simple fractions, from visualizing a number such as 7/10 to adding and doing other operations with fractions. The visuals are colorful but simple, designed to enhance comprehension. Better yet, they work and never locked up the computer. The Ladybug Mazes activity (3-5, geometry) will remind some of the teaching language Logo, but instead of writing computer code for a ‘turtle’ the user selects appropriate steps and turns to help a ladybug solve a maze. After selecting a series of actions the user presses the ‘play’ button to see how well his logic worked. There are plans to create and market a CD-Rom with print and save capabilities, but that aspect was not complete as of this writing.

How to use the site:
As a whole-class demonstration, with small groups, or as individual remediation this site offers an excellent opportunity for teaching/reinforcing/reviewing essential concepts. It would be especially effective for the visual or tactile learner. The site’s simple but colorful graphics are especially appealing and striking.

Submitted by: