I teach math to 2-5th graders, which is a big range. But it’s fun for me to see the development changes especially when using objects to help them figure things out, from fingers, blocks, counters, fractions kits, etc.

I encourage my students to use them. I don’t want them to hide their fingers under their desk when they are figuring things out. It’s an important part of math to visualize. And because I have these kids up to 5th grade, they use their fingers less and less, naturally. So when it came time for some of my students to use manipulatives for multiplying, I couldn’t find something that was cheap or that useful. So I decided to create something myself.

These are multiplication beads.

There are just pipe cleaners (cut in half), with pony beads on them. So it’s easy for the kids to make two groups of five, etc. They are just stored in a adjustable craft box. I had a parent make two sets. But I can see that kids could have made a starter set on their own, for their own use (like their own set of fingers), but then have access to the complete set. Just an idea.

– Evil Math Wizard