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Use of Sticks as an Aid for Learning Math

Abstract

Models and manipulatives are valuable for learning mathematics especially in primary school. These can be used to enhance understanding of concepts, mathematical reasoning, communication and problem solving. There have been many comprehensive reviews of the research on the use of concrete manipulatives. All have concluded that student achievement is increased as a result of being exposed to concrete materials by teachers. Sowell after analysing sixty studies between 1954 and 1984 found that the long-term use of concrete instructional materials enhances achievement and improves students’ attitudes toward mathematics if the teachers are knowledgeable about the use of concrete materials1. Lack of commercial availability or adequate finances can be overcome by using manipulatives that can be made with readily available cheap materials. In this paper we suggest some activities using sticks for enhancing understanding of concepts and operations on whole numbers, some concepts in geometry and problem solving.

Paper contributed by Harinder Mahajan (nee Nanda)

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