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Getting Started on Multisensory Math Techniques

 

Multisensory teaching methods were first applied in literacy and reading instruction. But over the years, learning specialists have found that the same multisensory approach can also be effectively used when teaching math. Particularly, when it is applied using the Concrete-Representation-Abstract framework. 

To get started with multisensory math, it is important to take advantage of skills that a learner has already mastered. From there, new concepts can be introduced using the CRA method. Using manipulatives is integral in multisensory math, but these do not need to be expensive. Some items commonly used are:

  • Craft sticks
  • Beads and string
  • Base ten blocks
  • Interlocking cubes
  • Color tiles
  • Foam stickers
  • Flat marbles
  • Dice/Dominoes (only up to six)

Here are some multisensory techniques for teaching math: 

  • Visualizing with manipulatives such as beads, color tiles, or blocks is an excellent technique to teach basic operations like addition and subtraction. By seeing how quantities change, young learners get a better understanding of how math operations work. Visualization also helps children understand amounts and develop number sense.
  • Using cubes or tiles to build shapes lets children have a concrete and physical representation of measurements and properties.
  • Drawing math problems is an excellent way to reinforce hands-on activities as it lets children illustrate their thinking and the concept they learned.
  • Tapping out numbers allows children to “feel” the value of numbers. It helps students better understand and make connections between symbols and actual amounts.
  • Using songs to help memorize math rules and introduce new concepts.
  • Incorporating movement into math through play and games
  • Using bundling sticks or coffee stirrers to teach regrouping and place value. This can also be done using base ten blocks.
  • Using a hundreds chart is an excellent way to teach number relationships to children.
  • Cutting pizza into slices to introduce and teach the concept of fractions. By cutting up a paper or cardboard pizza, you allow children to see what fractions look like as they select slices.

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