Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor

Dr. Kaye Parnell


This study was designed to provide information on the use of manipulatives in an elementary school mathematics curriculum. The primary goal was to determine if there was a significant difference in student achievement in mathematics at the third grade level when selected mathematics concepts are taught through the use of manipulatives compared to the use of conventional textbooks and worksheets. The sample in this study consisted of one third grade class from a small school in a community of approximately six thousand people. This class of twenty-four students, eleven girls and thirteen boys was taught by the researcher. The class was divided into two matched groups based on information from a standardized achievement test and a textbook pretest over selected math concepts. The experimental group used manipulatives to master the lesson objectives. The control group used the conventional textbook and worksheet pages to master the lesson objectives. A post test published by the Heath Mathematics Company was administered to both groups to see if there was a significant difference in student achievement. Analysis of the data through use of a t-test showed a significant difference to the .001 level of confidence in student achievement in third grade mathematics with the experimental group producing higher scores than the control group. The findings from this limited study support the use of manipulatives as a supplement to the third grade mathematics curriculum.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1991 Richard B. Atwood