Visuals and Manipulatives

I have often used manipulatives in classes to help students understand things. These often included building models for geometry, or giving students instructions to discover that the inverse is a reflection along the line y = x. I have recently been giving a lot of thought to these.

I find that students learn more on days when they have more visuals, or have more hands on things they can manipulate. I have been working with Geogebra and Desmos a lot this summer to build models for my classes in the fall. My original plan was to have this as the home page for our class on our LMS. It would change regularly, and I would have one for every topic.

As I continue to build these this summer, I am realizing how hard this is. How do I build visuals for solving radical equations? We later discuss using graphs to solve equations, so I don't want to introduce that method quite yet. So how can I help students visualize what is typically a very difficult topic?

When I teach Geometry in Fall 2019, there will be so many of these visuals and manipulatives. However, subjects like Algebra are not as easy. Students in College Algebra really benefit from this type of learning (at least in my experience). However, it seems that this is the class it is the most difficult to build these for. Probably why students think it is so difficult of a class.

While there are some challenges, I do hope to have a full set of visuals for College Algebra, Statistics, and Calculus I by the end of the fall. Once those are completed, I hope to move to Precalculus, Calculus II, and Calculus III. As I continue building these, I will slowly update the rest of my website with the appropriate videos, visuals and manipulatives, and activities and problems that I find helpful.