Where Do I find Enough Math Manipulatives for All of My Students?


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A question often asked in our online seminar is “How do I get enough manipulatives for each of my students to have their own tool kit?”

Before Covid-19, teachers who used Math Daily 3 could choose how they wanted to organize and make math manipulatives available to their students. Now, with new health and safety regulations, online learning, and social distancing, individual tool kits are preferred.

Supplying individual tool kits is great because they ensure that each student has the tools they need, it makes getting out materials more efficient, and it’s relatively easy to add or remove items as needed throughout the year.

However, a downside to individual tool kits is that they do require a lot of materials that some teachers may or may not have readily available. So, how can you find versatile math manipulatives for all of your students without spending a small fortune?

Here are some ideas:

  • At the beginning of the school year, send a letter home to parents explaining the Math Daily 3 structure. In this letter you could also explain the individual tool kit and its importance. You could list the items you plan to include in each tool kit and let parents know which ones you’re looking for if they wish to donate.
  • Target Dollar Spot—Lots of great tools are available here for less than $5. I have found regular dice, tetrahedron dice, foam dice/shapes, playing cards, rulers, packages of fun-shaped erasers that could be used for counters in lower elementary grades, and more.
  • Dollar Store—You can find playing cards, rulers, and dice.
  • Also, don’t forget about everyday household items that can be used as counters:
    • bottle caps
    • dried beans
    • various dried pasta shapes
    • toys of the same variety (In our home, we regularly sort and count cars.)
    • dot stickers
    • cotton balls
    • pom-poms from a craft store
    • pony beads

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