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December 2001

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Involve students in math by using virtual manipulatives.

This project, from Utah State University and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is a "library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction."
The site uses soft colors and simple graphics to enhance its appeal. Manipulatives are created as Java applets but load quickly.
The top navigation bar leads to the main sections of the site. The manipulatives are organized by grade-level groups: Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 as well as by category and can be browsed or searched using the onsite search tool.
This is a great site for teachers to use as a supplement to the math curriculum to help students visualize relationships and applications. The virtual manipulatives are developed to correlate with the NCTM standards and are appropriate for use in grades Pre-K through 12. For younger students, teachers may want to use them as a whole-group demonstration. Older students will be able to use them independently. Each grade-level group of manipulatives is divided into five topics: Number & Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, and Data Analysis & Probability. Plans are in the works to add teacher pages and activities, but creative teachers will have no problem using these learning tools in their classrooms with just the instructions.

Reviewed by Hazel Jobe
Education World®
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