Author(s)

Jaime Gaetano

Date Approved

6-30-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. School Psychology-Professional School Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta

Subject(s)

Mathematics--Study and teaching--Audio-visual aids;Academic achievement

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

The current study will focus on the effectiveness of using manipulatives when teaching fractions to elementary school students. Learning the concepts of fractions can be one of the most difficult skills to master for elementary level students. With so many different ways to expose students to manipulatives and enhance their fraction learning experience, it is important to examine how effective these teaching tools can be with respect to student achievement. The current study will discuss the effectiveness on student achievement when manipulatives are used during the teaching process. The main focus will be on student growth after being taught concepts of fractions including addition and subtraction while using manipulatives to engage them in their lessons. The students involved in this study are in one fourth grade class. This class includes 18 students that are performing at various achievement levels. Some of the participants have specific learning disabilities which hinder their ability to retain mathematical concepts without repetition over a longer period of time. The lessons being taught are included in the Everyday Mathematics fourth grade curriculum for fraction concepts. This curriculum is the Vineland Public Schools district wide mathematics curriculum. The teachers are responsible for teaching this curriculum using manipulatives for specific lessons. The study is taking place of a time span of four weeks. They will be tested prior to being taught the unit on fractions. They will be divided into two groups: one group will be instructed using integration of manipulatives and the other group will be instructed using worksheets and direct instruction including teacher modeling. Both groups will be given a post test to determine if the use of manipulatives was effective. This study will consist of comparing students' assessment scores when being taught the concepts of fractions while using manipulatives and students' assessment scores when they are taught without the use of manipulatives. An independent sample T-test revealed that students working with manipulatives during instructional time, small group time, and independent tasks demonstrated a significant amount of growth as compared to their peers that did not use manipulatives during any time of the learning process.

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