Visualizing Fractions to Decimals to Percents
Using Web-based Manipulatives

Percent Sign Square

Margo Lynn Mankus

Session 935
NCTM National Conference
Las Vegas, Nevada
April, 2002
Fraction Bars
Web Site Supported by:
The Graduate School of Education
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

Come discuss teaching strategies and questioning techniques to help your students develop a deeper meaning of the different representations of numbers. Virtual Fractions and more will be used to provide quickly the shapes needed to name and compare numbers!

NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
Grade Band 3-5 Expectations for Number Sense

Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems:

  • Develop understanding of fractions as parts of unit wholes, as parts of a collection, as locations on number lines, and as divisions of whole numbers
  • Recognize and generate equivalent forms of commonly used fractions, decimals, and percents

Special thanks are given to the developer of the
Java Virtual Manipulative Applets,
Jacobo Bulaevsky.
You will need a JAVA-capable Browser to run the applet.
If you leave this page, please use your BACK button to return.

Recommended Browser

Set your monitor to 800 by 600 pixels for the best view!

Today's Agenda!

Getting Familiar with Virtual Manipulatives

When you click on a Virtual Manipulative Applet button below, a window will open up with the applet running. You will have two windows open. You want to size the windows so that you can switch from this page to the applet and back again. Here is a suggested sizing of the screen. The applet page is on the left and another page is shown on the right.

Window Setup

Once the manipulative is open, you can open an activity below from this page. Then just click on the activity to read the question then click on the applet page to work!

You will be able to print the work you create on the applet by using the Shift Print Screen key (PC). You will have to paste the screen into a word processor and then print.

Virtual Manipulative Applet Buttons

These applets will open in a separate window.

Pattern Block Applet   Base Ten Block Applet
Integer Block Applet   Fraction Applet


  1. A Virtual Taste of Fractions
  2. Fractions - What's My Order?
  3. Pattern Blocks - What's My Number?
  4. Base Ten Blocks - Whole Number Algorithms and a Bit of Algebra!
  5. Integer Rods - Investigating LCM and GCF Using Rods

  6. More to Come!

Whiteboard Applet

Thanks to Frank Wattenberg
for his Whiteboard Applet!

Hand Made Manipulatives

More Virtual Manipulative Information

Some Other Great Applets, Activities, and Research - On-line Information

Interesting Articles

  • Cannon, L. O., E. R. Heal, and R. Wellman. "Serendipity in Interactive Mathematics: Virtual (Electronic) Manipulatives for Learning Elementary Mathematics." Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education San Diego, Calif.: February 2000.
  • Dorward, Jim. "Intuition and Research: Are They Complatible?" Teaching Children Mathematics 19 (February 2002): 329-32.
  • Moyer, P.S., J. J. Bolyard, and M. A. Spikell. "What Are Virtual Manipulatives?" Teaching Children Mathematics 19 (February 2002): 372-32.
  • Olive, John. "Bridging the Gap: Using Interactive Computer Tools to Build Fraction Schemes." Teaching Children Mathematics 19 (February 2002): 356-61.
  • Watanabe, T. "Representatons in Teaching and Learning Fractions." Teaching Children Mathematics 8 (April 2002): 457-63.


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