Virtual Manipulatives and Dynamic Representations in Length and Area Measurement.

Session presented at the Math in Action annual conference at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI. We explored measurement concepts using virtual manipulatives and dynamic simulations to encourage reasoning and sense-making that can support robust understanding of measurement.

Download session slides here.

We created three tasks for participants to explore during the session, each considering area: one as a paper and pencil task, one using physical manipulatives, and the third using an online tool from NCTM Illuminations.

Download task sheet here.

Pencil and Paper Task – We asked participants to determine the area of parallelograms and to mark those with the same area.

Physical Manipulatives Task – We asked participants to create a parallelogram with the same base and height as a given rectangle. We asked: How do the areas of the original shape and your new shape compare? Explain.

Virtual Manipulatives Task – We sent participants to the NCTM Illuminations page:  We asked them to find as many parallelograms as they could, all with area of 88 square units. We asked them to discuss patterns they saw.

We ended by asked: What could the learning goal for these three tasks be? How do the three tasks support learning in different ways? How does each block learning in different ways?

Possible benefits of simulations:

Stehr, E.M. & Siebers, K. (2013, February) Fractions as lengths. Paper presented at the Math in Action Conference, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI


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