Using Manipulatives in Teaching Math for High School Students with Learning Disabilities

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Manupilatives are used to bridge the gap between informal Math and formal Math. To achieve these objectives manupilatives used in classroom instruction must fit the development level of the students (Case et al, 2009). Young students have counters while older students use coloured wooden rods that represent difficult numbers. Maccini, Hughes (2006) stated that according to the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Manupilatives existed since time in memorial, and it is crucial for teaching students at all levels in order for them to aqcuire knowledge in Mathematics. High school students with learning disabilities require the use of manupilsatives to ease understanding Mathematics. Moyer-Packenham, Salkind, Bolyard, (2008)) suggested that students with learning disabilities may develop more concept understanding of difficult concepts when using virtual manipulatives than those that do not have learning disabilities. This review attempts to review studies conducted on the use of manupilatives in teaching math for high school students with leaning disabilities. The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance and benefits of math manipulatives among students with learning disabilities. 2.2 Literature review Several Mathematics topics can be taught using different manupilatives. These materials should foster students concepts of numerals, geometry, measurements, problems, solving and data analysis (Moyer et al, 2008). The teachers can use counters, blocks cubes and cuboids to teach ordinal numbers, place values, fractions and understanding algebra. Students with learning disabilities can use geoboards when learning geometric shapes, and geometrics solid models can be used when learning spatial reasoning. Rulers and measuring cups can be used to represent length and volume in measurement, and students can use spinners when learning probability. A case study conducted by Puchner, Taylor, O’Donnell, and Fick (2008) they analyzed the use of manupilatives in teaching Mathematics at the elementary level. He decided to use manupilatives rather than using learning outcomes of the learners. The study found that in some of the Mathematics lessons, studied the use of manupilatives is turned into an end in itself rather than an instructional tool. While others, the use of manupilatives failed to help students with learning disabilities. Puchner, et al (2008) in their study noted that this weakness occurred because the teachers concentrated in content teaching and the end product in itself. In other situation, the use of manupilatives was separated from the actual teaching, and in second grade, the students copied the teachers’ examples making it difficult to learn Mathematics content. This misuse of manupilatives provided the researcher with further areas of research. The researchers also found that teachers needed support in the selection of manupilative used in teaching Mathematics among students with learning disabilities. A study conducted by Munger (2007) where, in the experimental group, the teachers used manupilative models to teach Mathematics and the control group the teacher mainly used drawings and charts while teaching Mathematics. He conducted an analysis of covaerience, and it revealed that the experimental group using the manupilatives when teaching scored significantly higher than the control group that used drawings and charts. More research studies reveal that students who use manupilatives