Math Manipulatives in the Primary Classroom

(Grades K-2) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 35T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC41675


Course Description

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. The course begins by discussing math standards and the role of manipulatives in problem solving. A plethora of suggestions for how to incorporate specific manipulatives into your math instruction in order to improve the way students approach complex mathematical topics are provided. Specific manipulatives discussed in the course include linking cubes, color tiles and counters, pattern blocks, number lines, base ten blocks, place value chips, and hundreds charts to build basic math foundation skills. Ways to introduce play money and clocks are also included. Strategies and activities for using attribute blocks, Cuisenaire rods, rekenreks for addition and subtraction skills, tangrams, and geoboards as an introduction to geometry are shared. Additionally, an overview of how to create a math workshop using hands-on manipulatives is also included. By the end of this course, teachers will have a solid understanding, as well as the tools they need, to use math manipulatives to strengthen their students’ math skills. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies. 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

Course Only

$124 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD

$329 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UCSD.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Click here to view the course syllabus.

Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.

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
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
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: Course Reflection

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