Mathematics and Manipulatives
The use of manipulatives in teaching mathematics has a long tradition and solid research history. Manipulatives not only allow students to construct their own cognitive models for abstract mathematical ideas and processes, they also provide a common language with which to communicate these models to the teacher and other students. In addition to the ability of manipulatives to aid directly in the cognitive process, manipulatives have the additional advantage of engaging students and increasing both interest in and enjoyment of mathematics. Students who are presented with the opportunity to use manipulatives report that they are more interested in mathematics. Long-term interest in mathematics translates to increased mathematical ability (Sutton & Krueger, 2002).