« Back to Articles
Levels of Thinking
By Mary Laycock and Peggy McLean
The most common request from teachers over the years has been, "How do you know where to start?" Often teachers share that the textbook lesson did not work and ask why. The most crucial skill you need is the assessment of the level of thinking about a particular concept before teaching it.
The purpose of the exploration level is to allow sufficient unstructured time for students to become familiar with the manipulative materials. Provide simple activities which require minimal recording. Allow students time to invent and play games and build structures.
Beginning Manipulative Level
At the beginning manipulative level, knowledge of the relationships of any manipulative allows the student to build and record, developing process strategies. Worksheets which provide problems to perform with materials are necessary at this level.
At the manipulative level when given a question a student selects appropriate materials to investigate, discover, and solve problems using more than one strategy. The student builds, sketches, and writes meaningful interpretations of his/her work.
From investigations and discoveries made with manipulatives students are able to construct a rule and test it. Often a student forms a question or generalizes a rule and goes back to the manipulatives or sketches to test it. Students work with proficiency on textbook pages that match the skill being taught.
(Excerpted from Weaving Your Way from Arithmetic to Mathematics with Manipulatives, Activity Resources Co, Inc., © 1993)