Teaching with manipulatives for university mathematics

Author: Patrick Browne

Year: 2023

Paper Description

This study is a post-graduate level piece designed to explore the use of manipulatives in undergraduate classrooms. Findings are based on interviews with four teachers.

Key Takeaway 1

Students were reportedly more willing to answer questions when manipulative were used to explore complex mathematical ideas.

Key Takeaway 2

It was reported that ‘fun’ was a positive bi-product of the use of manipulatives. It was, however, difficult to define what fun actually meant and the author displays some scepticism at the thought, proposing that it might be ‘oxymoronical’.

Standout Quote

“…have some evidence that use of manipulatives did indeed help the students in their understanding yet the system of assessments did not allow them to show this.”


manipulatives, interviews, pedagogy, mathematics, math, maths, teaching, post-graduate, research