Math is fun, and we all know that! However, it can be hard to convince students how fun math is. There are several reasons for this. Math gets a bad reputation for being too hard. What if I told you that it doesn't have to be so hard? A great way to make math fun and easier to understand is by using manipulatives in math.

## What are Math Manipulatives?

A math manipulative is anything that you and your students can use to visualize the problem at hand. These can be specific products that are used for math manipulatives, like Unifix Cubes or interlocking cubes, but they can also be pipe cleaners and Legos. Whatever you use in math that puts a physical object in your students' hands to manipulate is a math manipulative. Now that we have a basic understanding about what math manipulatives are, we can talk about why you should use manipulatives in math classes.

### Benefit 1: Reaches a Different Learning Style

Math, like all subjects, can be hard to understand if you have a certain learning style. Bringing in math manipulatives reaches a few different learning styles. When you are using math manipulatives, you're getting some visual understanding. In addition, you're getting hands-on work as well. Because students get these new perspectives, they will have a better chance to understand. By adding in the different learning styles into your instruction, you are helping those who don't understand and deepening the understanding for several other students as well.

### Benefit 2: Visualizes Problem Solving

Because math is all about solving problems and using various methods to get there, manipulatives can be a game changer. Students often struggle to problem solve, especially if it is a difficult task. Math manipulatives allow you to put ideas together and take them apart over and over again. This helps students see all the different ways a problem can be solved as well as what doesn't work.

If you don't have sets of your own manipulatives, this website is a great place to find virtual manipulatives for your classes. It's also an affordable way to use many different items for demonstrations.

### Benefit 3: Reinforces Common Math Concepts

We can all agree that there are certain things you just need to know how to do in math. When you use manipulatives, you can review and enrich the basics of math. By focusing on those basics, you're making it easier for students to work on more challenging tasks. For example, if you have a specific formula or formulas students can put together with math manipulatives, they will get used to the formula and use it automatically.

### Benefit 4: Math Manipulatives Work Great in Centers

Finally, math manipulatives are great resources to use in centers. Having math manipulatives in centers gives students an option (if you want to give the option) for students to use them to help with a particulatly difficult math problem. It is also great for practicing hands-on learning and problem solving skills. Because math centers ask studnets to move around the room, you can have students work on several different skills using the same manipulatives.

Math manipulatives are simple and easy to use. Putting them into your classroom as a staple will do so much for you and your students. From infusing a few more learning styles to making hand-on problem solving a part of your curriculum, you and your students are bound to excel this school year.