Do you work with base ten blocks to help with introducing multiplication, or with decimals? Or anything else in math? I loed in their learning because they are manipulating the pieces. I love to use them to differentiated for my variety of learners and I love watch students figure out the math as a result. I hate the time it takes to pass them out and pack back up, I hate the noise the make as kids whack them together. I hate that they get fall to the floor and I keep finding the pieces for several days. I hate that the kids get distract by building towers with them.
So when I found an alternative that still did everything I love about base ten blocks, I was in a bit of disbelief. It’s true though, there is an alternative. Number Pieces is a google extension that allows students to use base ten blocks without the mess, the wasted time, the noise, or the tower building.
Number Pieces can be found by visiting the Chrome Web Store, simply search for it by name. They also have a Money Pieces version that would be great for primary. Once installed on students’ accounts it’ll be easy to open from their chrome menu. This app is also available from the iTunes store so it is iPad friendly! We actually started using it through the iPads. To use students simply pull the base ten blocks from the left and drag them into their screen. They can also write on the screen using the pencil icon. One issue I have with this, is that the writing disappears as soon as you put the pencil away. I wish it would stay visible as you used the base ten blocks, but overall this app has been a real time saver. The students are still engaged and are working on the conceptual understanding behind the mathematical practices. Take a look at some of the work kids can do with Number Pieces.
My students have used it to model multiplication problems and to represent decimals. How else could you utilize Number Blocks? Have you used Google Tools to substituted for manipulatives that you love, but hate?