Math Gains in Early Elementary Grades Using Traditional and Montessori Math Manipulatives
I have moved from teaching in a traditional public school to a Montessori public school. Both environments share similarities, in terms of grade level learning targets and the use of manipulative objects to help students develop mathematical understandings. For this study, I used the district high-priority learning targets for grades 1, 2, and 3, and aligned them with three key mathematical strands: Numbers and Operations, Algebra, and Geometry and Measurement. (See Appendices A, B, and C.) I conducted this study with 14 students: 3 first-graders, 4 second-graders, and 7 third-graders, using both traditional and Montessori-specific manipulative objects to help students acquire key mathematical concepts. I wanted to discover whether Montessori-specific manipulative materials are more effective than manipulatives used in traditional public schools, in helping students build their understanding of key mathematical concepts.