Learner-Centered Math Instruction Using Manipulatives

(Grades 3-6) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 60T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC41616


Course Description

Do your students seem to flounder in math because they just can’t “see it” in their heads? In mathematics, manipulatives provide the perfect segue from the unfamiliar to the familiar. They help students transform their mathematical reasoning so that problems become less confusing and much more clear. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to learn how to incorporate manipulatives such as linking cubes, color tiles and counters, number lines, Cuisenaire rods, base ten blocks, place value chips, fraction strips, algebra tiles, Algeblocks, pattern blocks, pentominoes, attribute blocks, tangrams, Anglegs, dice, geoboards, and even virtual manipulatives into their everyday teaching in order to guide their students to take ownership of their learning so that they can 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 math problems. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"As an elementary teacher, I felt this course covered a topic that is essential in the math classroom - manipulatives, both tactile and virtual. I developed ideas that I am ready to implement." - Kristine Jordan

Enrollment Options

Course Only

$112

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

$285

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

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



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.

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



UCSD Course Number: EDUC41616
Unit One
  • Learning Theory and Mathematics
  • The Role of Math in Problem Solving
  • Introduction to the NCTM Standards and the Common Core Standards for Mathematics
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Linking Cubes
  • Color Tiles and Counters
  • Number Lines
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Cuisenaire Rods
  • Base Ten Blocks
  • Place Value Chips
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Algebra Tiles and Algeblocks
  • Pattern Blocks and Pentominoes
  • Attribute Blocks
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Geoboards
  • Tangrams
  • Anglegs
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Working with Fractions
  • Probability with Spinners and Dice
  • Virtual Manipulatives
  • Assignment #4: Develop lesson plans that are specifically taught using manipulatives
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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