Making Numbers: Using manipulatives to teach arithmetic

A definitive guide to using manipulatives to teach arithmetic

Rose Griffiths, Sue Gifford, and Jenni Back

Suitable for:  Primary school teachers, trainee teachers, early years educators, teaching assistants and anyone working to develop the teaching of number

Price:  £32.75

ISBN: 978-0-19-837561-6
Publication date: 29/09/2016
Paperback: 112 pages
Dimensions: 246x189mm

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Making Numbers shares exemplars of good practice drawing on the latest research on using manipulatives to develop understanding of arithmetic. Focusing initially on the teaching of numbers from 1-12, Making Numbers progresses to 200 and beyond, including ideas for teaching partitioning, arrays, and times tables.


  • Provides practical suggestions on how to develop number sense using practical resources
  • Photographs exemplify how to use the manipulatives
  • Each successive chapter builds on children's understanding gained with smaller numbers
  • Underpinned by educational research and classroom practice
  • Supported by a series of animations and videos on

This page was last updated on 13 August 2022 at 04:30 GMT


  • This is a visually striking book full of high quality colour photographs of manipulatives for learning maths. The generosity of images makes it extremely accessible. The book presents many practical activities for developing children's understanding of number relationships. These activities are soundly based on up to date research into how children develop number sense. This makes it a must buy - a really supportive, evidence-based resource for all those who teach foundation stage and key stage one classes. - Dr Julie Alderton, Lecturer in Mathematics Education, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
  • This is an excellent book, full of practical ideas to help develop children's understanding of number. The images used show how you can use everyday resources to help develop children's understanding of number without needing to spend lots of money on new resources, and the small snippets of research help you to understand why the activities suggested can help children to understand number. It is written in an easy to read style and can be dipped into and out of, a great tool to help support planning for maths in the EYFS. It even covers trickier concepts such as introducing addition and subtraction, and gives you advice on how to make this meaningful for children to understand. - Caroline Vissani, Early Years Teaching and Learning Specialist
  • This book should be in every primary school. Correction, in every KS1 and early KS2 classroom. It is full of practical and well-researched guidance on the teaching of number using a wide range of manipulatives and open-ended tasks which prioritise sense-making through discussion. The authors have a solid background in early years mathematics education and explain clearly the research backing up the tasks and the variety of images supported by the different manipulatives. The book is full of colour images making progression clear and gradually builds over successive chapters from working with smaller numbers to the development of images for the division of numbers between 25 and 100. It would be an invaluable resource for Teaching Assistants, SEND teachers and all teachers who want to understand clearly the lines of progression in children's understanding of number and calculation. - Dr Helen J Williams, Primary Mathematics Educational Consultant
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