The use of virtual manipulatives in fourth grade to improve mathematic performance.
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SubjectMathematics -- Study and teaching (Elementary).; Manipulatives (Education).; Educational games.
Virtual manipulatives are mathematical tools recommended by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), which are underutilized within elementary schools. This study investigated the impact of virtual manipulatives on fourth-grade students’ mathematic performance. Students in one general education math class were randomly assigned to either a treatment group or one of two control groups. Together the three groups were comprised of twelve fourth-grade students who were taught by the same math teacher. The treatment and both control groups studied adding and subtracting three to six digit whole numbers. The treatment group used virtual manipulatives to practice the concepts from the lesson, while one control group used concrete manipulatives and the other control group used paper and pencil worksheets to practice the concepts. An identical paper and pencil pre-test was given prior to instruction to all groups as well as an identical paper and pencil post-test after the unit of adding and subtracting whole numbers. The findings showed that all three groups scores improved between the pre-test and post-tests. However, there was a significant improvement with the students who participated in the virtual manipulative group. Students’ mathematical performance was positively impacted when students used virtual manipulatives during the adding and subtracting whole numbers math unit.