Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mira, Symmetry, and Manipulative

As the instructed asked if we had ever seen this little red plastic pieces she called Miras I thought back to my years in elementary school and jr high school and I realized it wasn’t until high school I saw these things.  I am starting to realize how much more things we have available to us as teacher to use as manipulative. 
I am sure I have said before that I struggled with math until I came to college.  It still does not come easy for me like it does others.  As I am using the mira to draw symmetrical images and shapes I realized what a great tool this could be in a classroom.  It can be used to help students see how images can match up to each other even if they are flipped different directions.  But it can also be used to help the student draw images that they see in books or on worksheets. 
A question came up in class that now has me wondering and pondering even more.  A teacher is often only allowed enough money to put one math manipulative their first year.  Therefore choose wisely.  How can you choose just one thing when you know that your students could benefit from so much more?  There are so many things that could help our curious minds grow but we have been forced to be confined to just one thing.  Would it would reasonable to order the class a set of miras for your first year or two of teaching?  I don’t think it would as fun and educational as they are I cannot see how you could use them to help students in more than one way.  I am beginning to see that I need to look at all the options out there and choose a manipulative that can be used for more than one unit or lesson.  One that is universal that I could use in the classroom in more areas than math.  This challenge is one that many teachers have been faces with. 

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