Amie Albrecht retweeted this ~~the other day~~ over a year ago (I just came back to finish this post):

It reminded of me when I used my son to try out the first part of this NRich problem:

I’ve used this problem with middle school students before…but I wanted to use it in a math for elementary teachers undergraduate class, so I needed to see how an elementary student would think it through (he’s in 5th grade).

He attempted some mental thinking about the problem at first. But, I could tell he was going to get frustrated. I found something that could work as counters for him and asked him to represent the problem. He argued with me about it and finally said “only babies use these.”

I pushed him to use the counters…and he figured the problem out quite simply.

Using manipulatives makes problems so interesting to think about. But, I just asked him about that day and he agreed that the tool made the problem easier, but he didn’t like using them.

**We need to use more manipulatives in math class!**

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Yes! And a variety of them so students can chose which manipulative would work best for them in the particular problem they are representing!!!

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