Manipulative and visual model based activities for the Algebra One curriculum

Sara Valancy, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


Algebra One can be a very abstract subject that often consists solely of lecture and formulas, and fails to address multiple learning styles. As a result, many students become confused as to when and why to perform a certain operation or apply a formula. Manipulatives and visual models provide a way for algebra to become more approachable to all learning styles and offer a concrete representation of an abstract concept. They give meaning as to why to perform an operation and what the intention of a formula is. The curriculum that was created and compiled for this project was prepared as an enhancement to the current Algebra One text at a local high school. The final project is a set of supplemental, introductory activities that include manipulatives and visual models, as well as the manipulatives themselves. The activities were created from survey and observation based feedback of manipulative-based lessons that were performed in the classroom. The outcome will be an easy to implement addition to the teachers' daily lesson that will enhance the student's algebra one experience.