Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites: Chapter 7 {Manipulatives, Experiments, Labs & Models}

I'm linking up with Deanna Jump over at Mrs. Jump's Class to talk about Chapter 7! I love this chapter!  I love it so much because I think had I been taught this way I would have done a MUCH better job in school! {One of the reasons I became a teacher}

Strategy 7:
Manipulatives, Experiments, Labs and Models

The chapter started off with a story about the author's daughter doing very well in her chemistry labs but not very well on the paper/pencil tests.  


Okay...I'm having a Twilight Zone moment....

Just today, we were dealing with this as a family.  My son, who is in 7th grade, found out he received a C- on his final in Art class.  He received A's all along on every other project - but since this final exam counts for 30 percent of his grade - he'll receive a B in the class.
I know - a B is fine - it's not the letter grade that we are most concerned with - it's the message that was sent to our 7th grader - grades aren't always fair and definitely aren't always reflective of your hard work and your skills.

Marcia Tate said "...when is the last time a chemist walked into a laboratory, sat down, and completed a worksheet or took a paper and pencil test?"

...and I can say the same for artists.

In his teacher's defense - I'm going to guess she wishes she didn't have to give grades like this either.

Moving on...{I will not send her an email, I will not send her an email}

We use manipulatives a TON!  I wouldn't know how to teach without them. 

These letters are from TouchTronic 

One of our math workshop stations - pattern block reflections

Bins are loaded with manipulatives for math workshop

Learning about shapes - using....shapes!

What better way to learn about plants then to plant some grass?
"When students use manipulatives over a long period, they make gains in verbalizing their thinking, discussing ideas, taking ownership, and gaining confidence in independently finding answers to problems.} {Sebesta & Martin, 2004}


On my Pinterest Math Wizard board I pinned a few manipulative finds that I really liked because many of them are DIY - we all know those manips can be expensive!

Sources: Learn, Play, Imagine
Rachel K Tutoring Blog

Where I need to improve is having them out year round so they are just part of what we do and how we roll - like an appendage.  

I found these awesome "math action cards" that I'm thinking about purchasing.  I think constant use of these manipulatives can only increase their learning value and help students understand that they can be used for any learning situation THEY deem them necessary.

Do you use manipulatives?
Which ones are your favorites?

Visit Mrs. Jump's Class to see what others are saying about this strategy and join in the conversation!


  1. I LOVE the pattern block reflection idea... we aren't learning about shapes yet but I can't wait to use this when we do. Thanks for sharing the idea! My kiddos are going to love it!

  2. Lol...I'm laughing at your "I will not send her an e-mail". I totally agree though! B's are not bad. I actually got straight B's :-p Those letters from touch tronic look awesome! I'm checking those out!


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