Introduction to the FREE Booklet:  Multiplication using Manipulatives.by Geoff White, B.Ed.
This introduction is necessary because I want to make it perfectly clear what we are trying to do here. The feedback I am getting tells me that people are looking at the attached appendix on Multiplication using manipulatives and shrugging, as if to say, “So?” “So you play with blocks and do sums like 2x3 = 6, so what? Just learn that 2 times 3 is 6 and you’re done. Easy. What’s the big deal about that?” The big deal is this, for the last 100 plus years all that kids have been made to do in school to learn math is to memorize facts, rules formulae and process. There has been no attempt to achieve UNDERSTANDING. The result of this has been math anxiety, frustration, and abandonment of math as soon as possible, thus no chance at a highpaying and rewarding career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. The source of this frustration and failure is that all the children ever saw were symbols: 1,2,3,4,5, +=/ and x. square roots, %, etc.. The thing is that ALL YOU CAN DO WITH SYMBOLS IS MEMORIZE THEM. Pages and pages of symbols, such as x^2 + 3x + 2, and rules for operations on them, all of which have to be memorized. You cannot get to UNDERSTANDING by mere MEMORIZATION. What we are doing in Mortensen math is making it visual, tactile, providing concrete experiences of the world by using manipulatives (plastic blocks, tiles, etc.) so the child can build concepts of how things work, without being simply told and given stuff to memorize so they can get an answer. There is a special way we do this involving seeing numbers as rectangles, counting the over and up dimensions and more. “We are decoding this mathematical language, x^2 + 3x + 2, into a concrete reality so it can be understood. There is no mathematical concept that a child cannot understand if it is presented at the child’s level.”  Jerry Mortensen. Using plastic blocks not only makes it concrete, providing tactile experiences, it also makes it visual. Now the child can SEE how the numbers work, how big they are relative to each other. In adult life, we solve real problems by visualizing solutions, by seeing what the problem is and imagining ways to solve it. We don’t just memorize a rule and an answer appears. So why teach math that way? The appendix on multiplication shows how to put out the blocks, so that the child can SEE what six is, and how many threes it takes to make six. She can hold six in her hand and grasp concepts using all her senses and thereby develop a visceral understanding of the world through mathematics. So, put out the blocks. Build some rectangles. Count how many and start enjoying it. Let’s play math! Go here to get the FREE booklet: How to teach Multiplication with Manipulatives using the Mortensen Method http://www.geoffwhite.ws

Teacher's Handbook for Teaching Math with Manipulatives In use in schools and homes around the world: Canada, USA, UK, Eire, Holland, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Papua & New Guinea, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, SW Africa, Mexico, to name a few where I have placed it personally.
Table of Contents The Premise The FiveMinute Overview of the Method Key Phrases in Mortensen Math Very Brief Summary of the Method Psychological Principles at Work Introduction  cont'd Create a MathRich Environment The Teacher's Role & Student SelfEsteem Six Key Ideas from Jerry Mortensen Appendices: Section One  Counting Section Two  Addition Section Three  Subtraction Section Four  Multiplication Section Five  Division Section Six  Fractions Section Seven  Algebra Section Eight  Solving Equations Section Nine  Functions & Relations Section Ten  Story Problems Section Eleven  Mortensen Math Program NOW in .PDF format! No postage costs, instant delivery! The Teacher's handbook, 250 pages, full color, $65 USD
To order: send payment by Paypal to me at
Want to read more about Mortensen Math? 