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Math Manipulatives in the Primary Classroom (K-2)

Do you want to use manipulatives to help your students understand math concepts more concretely? This online course is designed for teachers in grades K-2 who want to learn how to incorporate manipulatives into their everyday teaching in order to guide their students to become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Information on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics is shared together with distinct suggestions for how to incorporate specific manipulatives into your math instruction in order to improve the way students approach complex mathematical topics. Specific manipulatives discussed in the course include linking cubes, color tiles and counters, pattern blocks, number lines, base ten blocks, place value chips, money, clocks, attribute blocks, Cuisenaire rods, hundreds charts, rekenreks, tangrams, and geoboards. An overview of how to create a math workshop is also included in this course. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this course!!! I can't wait to get into my building and start downloading the resources and begin organizing the materials." - Mervin Mateo


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Guided Math Conferences” by Laney Sammons

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 35T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41675

Unit One

  • Teaching Math to Young Children
  • Introduction to the Common Core Standards for Mathematics and the NCTM Standards
  • The Role of Manipulatives in Problem Solving
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • Linking Cubes
  • Color Tiles and Counters
  • Rekenreks
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Number Lines
  • Cuisenaire Rods
  • Hundreds Charts
  • Test #3
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise

Unit Four

  • Base Ten Blocks
  • Place Value Chips
  • Manipulating Money
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Telling Time
  • Pattern Blocks
  • Attribute Blocks
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Geoboards
  • Tangrams
  • Creating a Math Workshop
  • Assignment #4: Develop math lessons using manipulatives
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)