Effects of Student Understanding from Student-created Math Manipulatives

by Randa Mortensen

Institution: Utah Valley University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Mathematics – Study and teaching; Fractions – Study and teaching (Elementary); Dissertations, Academic;
Record ID: 2059275
Full text PDF: http://contentdm.uvu.edu:81/u?/UVUTheses,671


This mixed methods study involved two sixth grade classes studying a fraction division unit. The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a difference in pretest and posttest scores between a control class and a treatment class when the treatment class created their own math manipulative. The study also examined effects on student engagement, motivation, and experiences when students created their own math manipulative. The treatment class was given lessons about research on effective manipulatives and scaffolding to enable them to create their manipulatives. Students? scores on a pretest (p=0.45) and posttest (p=0.27) were compared for class variance and measure effect of the treatment. Mean score for the treatment class improved more than the mean score for the control class, though this difference was not statistically significant. The treatment class completed a qualitative survey about their experience. Findings included comments about difficulties, ownership and enjoyment, communicating with family and classmates, and increased awareness of math concepts. Twelve students were observed solving four equations dividing fractions using the self-created manipulatives. Insights gained from the observations showed students? math understanding (Mean=19, SD=7), self-awareness behavior (M=3.5, SD=2.6), transfer (M=2.6, SD=1.9), and involvement with others (M=1.9, SD=1.8). 22 cm., 58 p.